The love-hate relationship between Black Africa’s mercurial attacking midfielder Awilo Stephanus and the Brave Warriors’ technical staff has hit an all-time low.
Stephanus is furious and accuses the country’s football governing body, the Namibia Football Association (NFA), of blatant victimization, punctuated by acts of sheer bullying.
At the centre of the storm is NFA’s apparent weird demand to recoup money spent on Stephanus while he was in training camp during the Brave Warriors’ preparations for the COSAFA Cup.
“I received a tempting offer from a team in Vietnam two weeks before the COSAFA Cup was to kick off and informed the technical staff accordingly.
“I was duly granted permission to leave the training camp so that I could attend trials, but to my surprise that same night I received a call from the assistant team manager Jakes Amaning, who instructed me to contact the NFA secretary general Barry Rukoro.”
By his own admission, Rukoro told him in no uncertain terms to reimburse the NFA for costs accrued during his lodging at the training camp.
“I was left flabbergasted by Rukoro’s bullish demands because they (NFA) owes me a large sum of money in outstanding bonuses – N$20 000 in total for the two matches against Burundi (away) and Niger (home).”
Stephanus says the trouble started while he was in Accra, Ghana with the Warriors. “I was confronted by both Amaning and Warriors head coach Bucksey Mannetti over my immediate future and was asked whether I still harboured ambitions of furthering my football career in Thailand.”
When he responded in the affirmative, Mannetti ostensibly bluntly told the dribbling wizard that he might just as well drop him from the squad for the Niger match.
Despite the uncertainty and subsequent threats, Stephanus was fielded in the said match but was soon thereafter released from camp so that he could go to Thailand and collect his visa en route to Vietnam.
“After the COSAFA Cup, all the other squad members received their outstanding bonuses (N$20 000) but mine was withheld for reasons only known to management.”
To worsen matters, Stephanus claims he had been sent from pillar to post with no acceptable explanation advanced as to why his bonuses were frozen. In conclusion, the aggrieved athlete concedes his future lodging within the Warriors setup could become a statistic following his bold step to challenge football bosses bare-knuckled and speak out against injustices prevalent in domestic football.
Although reluctant, reliable sources at Football House who refused to be named did however confirm to New Era Weekend Sport that there is a fracas brewing between the player and the SG regarding Awilo’s outstanding purse.