One of Namibia’s most colourful and recognizable retired footballers, Alfred Ndyenge (better known as Alfie among his circle of buddies) takes a closer look at the current state of Namibian football.
The much-travelled articulate former Civics and Brave Warriors goal poacher, nowadays a football pundit and analyst on the popular Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) live televised sports programme, ‘Soccer Pitch’, has opened up about his thoughts on what he terms the out-dated amateurish fashion in which Namibian football is being administered.
The immaculately dressed articulate football analyst pulls no punches, as he speaks out on the unspoken shortfalls that have bedevilled domestic football over the last couple of years.
He also speaks passionately about a range of other burning issues, including the seemingly unending politics and self-enrichment so prevalent in the game of football that threatens to derail progress and overall development of the game in the country, notably at grassroots level.
New Era Sports sat down with Alfie, as he carefully analysed the untenable situation of domestic football and what should be done to arrest this slide down a potentially dangerous slippery slope.
New Era Weekend Sports (NEWS): Alfie, thanks for joining us. As a retired footballer, apart from your part-time work as football analyst on television, do you see yourself getting involved in football – be it in administration or any other capacity?
Alfred Ndyenge (AN): Eish, it’s a tricky question but we should first ask ourselves whether the current crop in charge of our football structures is well acquainted or what it takes to run football. Do they understand the pros and cons of football?
NEWS: What’s your take on youth development?
AN: The current methodology of youth development programmes needs a complete overhaul. We cannot just stage sporadic tournaments and then go into a sabbatical without follow-ups. In the past, we had very competitive youth tourneys such as the Coca Cola Youth Cup, the Rossing Cup, etc. The other bone of contention is the modus operandi between the National Schools Sports Union, the country’s football governing body, NFA, and the National Sports Commission – these three organs should work hand in glove and cannot afford to operate in isolation if they are to achieve maximum success.
NEWS: As it stands, it is unlikely that the country’s top-flight league would kick-off after negotiations between NPL and the league’s principal sponsor MTC collapsed.
AN: It’s indeed a very sad scenario but then, again, seriously MTC should not be the only source of financial backers. There are dozens of corporate businesses here in Namibia that make massive profits of over N$50 million per annum, why can’t they come on board and bail the league out. Another option is for the league hierarchy to approach Treasury and request unused money that is annually sent back from capital projects to be diverted into the government’s other social responsibilities, football in particular.
NEWS: But what measures should be put in place for football to lay hands on the said funds.
AN: It’s all about proper planning, but I’m afraid with the current leadership, many people would be afraid to invest in football because of an array of negative perceptions. Do our football administrators possess the required skill and ability to convince sponsors? Well, I seriously don’t think so, and this is exactly where we are found wanting in terms of soliciting sponsorships.
NEWS: There has been some resistance from clubs campaigning in the MTC Premiership with regard to their players joining the Namibia Football Players Union – what’s your honest opinion?
AN: I played professional football in foreign countries such as Norway, Sweden and India and never heard of any players unions. We need blokes with a decent amount of pedigree in terms of responsibility, transparency and accountability. In my personal view, Namibian footballers are constantly gravely short-changed by greedy club owners. Contracts should not be signed in favour of clubs only drafted by individuals at their own discretion – that’s extremely dangerous. Just as recently, we heard scary stories of Brave Warriors not having been paid match fees and so on. Interestingly, one will never hear staff members complaining about non-payment of their monthly salaries, whereas players are not paid.
In conclusion, Alfie also took issue with the Namibia Football Association (NFA), questioning the association’s approach towards kit sponsors.
AN: NFA should use local companies to purchase playing gear for all its national teams. We need to introduce our own local brand of clothing, something that’s amiss in the current setup. Supporters must identify themselves with a unified brand when it comes to all national teams’ replica jerseys and so forth.
NEWS: Thanks a lot and all the best in your future endeavours.
AN: My pleasure my bro.