GEINGOB STAYS COMMITTED TO NAM FOOTBALL
President Hage Geingob has rubbished recent claims that he is doing nothing to improve local football, despite being the sport code's patron.
Geingob says he only came to know about the dire straights Namibian football is in, when former NPL chairperson Johnny Doeseb penned a letter to him. In turn, Geingob instructed the line ministry to investigate the issue immediately.
The President summoned football stakeholders to State House yesterday morning, where he put the record straight.
The President told the meeting that he was formally informed about the crisis in football last month, despite the problem having been there for close to ten months.
“It's not fair to say I did not do anything.Soccer problems did not start last month or this year. Nobody from the soccer administration came to see me. It did not start last month - it has been there and of course you have to go to the minister concerned” Geingob explained.
Following the clarification, Geingob instructed the line ministry to appoint an independent committee to investigate the current state of sports in the country, including football.
The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service then appointed Amos Shiyuka and Elize Petersen to carry out the investigation.
The Head of State further said that he is merely a patron of football and cannot get involved in the administration of it; as such a move will contradict FIFA rules, which bar governments to interfere in football matters.
“The problem is the administration of football. If you interfere in administration as government that is against FIFA rules. Go and check your books. Government cannot interfere; we cannot come and dismiss the board as this is against FIFA rules. The country will be suspended from FIFA . It happened to other countries before” Geingob further elaborated.
Geingob requested an update on what transpired to date in overall efforts to rescue the Namibian Premier League.
The Chairperson of the Namibia Sports Commission, Joel Mathews, provided information on the various initiatives that were carried out to get football back on the pitch.
With government facing financial struggles, Mathews said they could not expect their help, but instead appealed to the private sector, which did not come on board. According to Mathews, they were only left with the option to borrow money from the financial institutions.
“WE asked the permission from the Ministry Of Finance to asked permission to borrow the money but we did not get any feedback.
FNB was ready to give us the money, but we could not get permission from the Ministry of Finance.” Explained Mathews.
The Chairman of the investigation committee, Amos Shiyuka briefed the meeting on progress made, and promised the head of state that the delayed Premier League will kick off on the 12th of May.
“We have had a positive response from the main sponsor MTC to say if and when the interim committee have got their house in order, MTC is ready to release the 15 million for the league to kick off and on top of that we have gotten confirmation from Namibia Breweries through O & L group that they are ready to assist in the kick-off of the league while we are finding proper remedies to fix the issues so it does not happen again” he said.
Shiyuka further stated that they will extend their mandate to other sport codes in order for them to avoid falling into the same trap as football.