A dark cloud hangs over the immediate future of domestic football following the Premiership’s principal sponsors MTC’s ultimatum directing the league authorities to jack up their act or face the music regarding their lucrative sponsorship.
Clearly fed up with the league’s chronic inability to balance their books, MTC has told the hierarchy at Football House in no uncertain terms to get their ducks in the row or face the dire consequences of an unwanted premature divorce.
As it stands, the country’s flagship league does not have an official confirmed sponsor after its three-year deal with the giant mobile communications company came to an end last term.
The latest unfolding nauseating revelations have placed Namibia Premier League (NPL) bosses in a quandary since they don’t even know whether they are coming or going.
The dominant view is that the league authorities should put aside any plans such as the drawing of league fixtures until the burning issue of sponsorship is sorted out.
Although MTC has provisionally pledged a staggering N$15 million per season, the said figure is still way short of the N$9 million needed to meet the tabled N$24 million budget if the league is to fulfill its mandate unhindered.
Despite the uncertainty, clubs campaigning in the Premiership are already in the process of beefing up their playing personnel departments.
Last season’s league rookies Citizens just survived relegation by the skin of their teeth but Dawid Goagoseb’s soldiers have no intention of replicating their poor showing during their debut season in topflight football.
In an effort to keep the dreaded relegation axe at bay, the Citizens have acted swiftly by appointing much-travelled young coach Christy Guruseb as head coach.
Reports suggest Guruseb, nephew of former national team and Orlando Pirates Football Club sharpshooter Kleintjie Gaseb, has signed a two-year contract after his acrimonious exit from fellow Premiership outfit Civics, half way through last season.
Sources close to the coach say Guruseb has turned down a few lucrative offers from some Premier league teams, including a big club from Namibia’s capital city Windhoek.
However, the club is likely to enter the new season with a total new-look line-up with a significant number of disgruntled leading players threatening to jump ship – citing outstanding salaries.
Club honcho Dawid Goagoseb reluctantly confirmed the exodus of players but was quick to add that it could indeed prove a blessing in disguise.
“As we are all aware, our debut season in topflight football did certainly not reflect our philosophy – this is something we would want to forget and move on.
“The club has undertaken to recruit a number of committed young footballers that would tie in with our playing philosophy.
“Obviously, we are oblivious of the increasing uncertainty about the league’s current status since we are living in fear as to what would transpire should negotiations between the NPL and MTC reach a deadlock, but we can’t be idle.”
In the meantime, a few MTC Premiership clubs are burning the midnight oil and putting their ducks in the row ahead of the envisaged new campaign while others are playing the wait and see game.
An official from one of the big guns, who strictly spoke on condition that his identity is withheld for fear of reprisals, said the clubs are operating on huge budgets and it would be silly to start recruiting new players while the clubs don’t even know when the league activities would start.
“Keeping players afloat is an expensive exercise – there are various high risks costs-wise, such as the hiring of training fields, transport, etc. We are not in the charity business and can’t engage in activities that cannot reward the club with commercial returns.”
Having been bundled out of the top four by newcomers Tura Magic over the last two seasons, MTC Premiership perennial underachievers Orlando Pirates would require a Herculean act to arrest their current worrisome slump if they are to reestablish themselves as a major force to be reckoned with in domestic football.
The Ghosts are currently leaderless and to worsen matters, disgruntled players have dragged the club to the Labour Court for breach of contract, as a result of unpaid wages.