Sports

Namibia: CAF Tired of Namibia ‘Hostage’ Situation

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) says it is “unacceptable” that the game in Namibia has again come to a standstill due to administrative unrest.

“Everybody is fed up with the situation,” CAF secretary general Veron Mosengo-Omba said earlier this week during crisis talks with the Namibia Football Association (NFA) leadership, minister of sport, youth and national service Agnes Tjongarero, and other football stakeholders.

“There is talent in this country. It looks like this talent and our kids are being taken hostage by administrators of football,” he said.

He said the continental football mother body would “soon” give recommendations to remedy the untenable stand-off between the two factions of the NFA executive committee.

Mosengo-Omba, along with Angolan FA head Arturo Almeida, says their two-day fact-finding mission in Windhoek was “very fruitful”.

Recommendations from CAF and Fifa on finding a definite solution to the football power struggle would follow shortly, he says.

“We came here on instruction of Patrice Motsepe, the president of the CAF. He expressed his concern regarding the situation here.”

CAF and Fifa have attempted to quell the upheaval before by installing a normalisation committee which oversaw the 2020 elections when the incoherent Ranga Haikali-led administration came into power.

“After one year, it seems we have a setback. For president Motsepe it is not acceptable that football is not being played in this country. That’s why he sent me to come here to asses the situation and then to report to him, and also to report to Fifa regarding the situation here,” Mosengo-Omba told reporters on Tuesday evening, following a marathon meeting with NFA members.

Haikali is engaged in a power struggle with secretary general Franco Cosmos, who has the backing of half of the NFA executive.

“This mission was not to judge what people have done or are doing. It was to understand clearly what is happening here,” he said.

“We met the executive committee, part of them. We had a very fruitful meeting. We listened to them. After them, we met with the honourable minister of sport [Agnes Tjongarero]. It was also a very fruitful meeting. She’s really concerned about the situation of football in the country,” Mosengo-Omba said.

“We met with the members of the [Namibia Premier Football] League and members of the NFA. We had a very long discussion which was very informative.”

The senior CAF official said there is a general consensus to have continuous domestic football.

“Everybody is concerned about the fact that there hasn’t been playing for about three years,” he said.

“And all of them want football to come back. This willingness is clearly in all of them. Some issues just need to be fixed and football will come back again. I promised them that president Motsepe is committed to football coming back in Namibia.”

INTERVENTION

In the interim, the 17th NFA extraordinary congress, where a motion to dismiss the entire executive committee is chief, will proceed as advertised on 20 November – unless the CAF or Fifa directs otherwise.

“We are hoping they come back with recommendations before then,” said Cosmos, whose role in the fact-finding exercise was been limited to organising meetings only.

“I understand that 90% of the members agreed that it goes ahead during the meetings. The only way it can be called off is if there is such recommendation from CAF or Fifa.”

Mosengo-Omba said they hope to speedily resolve the unpleasant debacle.

“The next step is that we will come back with some proposals. We will see how it can be implemented, and we will assess this road map. If not implemented properly, we have to take further measures, because we need football to be played normally here,” he said.

“But we can feel all of them want football to come back. This is an important common ground. Maybe it’s a question of egos.”

Last week former normalisation committee (NC) chairperson Hilda Basson Namundjebo dismissed suggestions that her interim remedial body had sparked the prevailing discord.

Cosmos was Basson Namundjebo’s deputy on the NC, but has since been retained by Haikali.

Mosengo-Omba agreed with Basson Namundjebo’s position on the issue. He absolved the NC of any wrongdoing, saying they had executed the Fifa mandate within the realm of their scope.

“The normalisation committee tried what they could do. Nobody’s perfect . . . But what they did, we are satisfied,” he said.

STATUTES

The CAF secretariat head conceded they should have given the NC powers extending to the NFA’s regulatory framework.

The statutes appear ambiguous and open to abuse, he said.

“I don’t think they are the origin of this problem. The problem is humans don’t want to understand what the statutes are saying. Even on purpose maybe,” said Mosengo-Omba.

“For me, we should have also given them the mandate to revisit the statutes. That was maybe a mistake on our side.

“We believed that people will understand these statutes, but we’ve discovered that everybody is interpreting according to their interest. That has created the general conflict.”

The administrative discord aside, the NFA reportedly does not have the requisite funds to complete its transitional league, which kicked off in April.