If the current leadership in football fails to address and find immediate solutions to the crisis the game faces locally, football stakeholders would be left with no option but to take drastic action.
All airing their grievances in unison, various football stakeholders – which included players, coaches, administrators and a few club representatives – gathered at the Katutura Community Hall on Thursday night to share views and have their input on possible solutions that would hopefully rescue Namibian football from the jaws of demise.
The meeting was organised and hosted by the Namibia Football Players Union (NAFPU), with the aim of getting more input from the real custodians of the game, the players, but their attendance at Thursday’s gathering left a lot to be desired and partly stole the shine from the whole event.
Despite the poor attendance on the side of the players, the meeting, however, still went ahead and those present did their part in making sure key points and vital inputs were brought to the fore and equally noted.
Among the many speakers on the night was veteran football mentor Ali Akan, who spared no words in calling a spade a spade when he went to great lengths to chronicle how football leaders have failed the players and how they seem to have no plan B of rescuing football from dying a natural death.
“Our football leaders have all failed the game and have equally failed the players. They are a bunch of crooks that are just there to enrich themselves at the expense of the players – the real owners of the game. This is not a case of corporate Namibia refusing to put money in football but the reality here is that people have lost trust in the current leadership and that is what we need to solve,” said the outspoken Akan.
He continued; “So this is what we have to do if we are serious about rescuing our players. We either have to engage NFA, NPL and other relevant authorities again and see what can be done for the players in the short-term. And when I say ‘we’, I mean NAFPU, as the representative of the players, and if those discussions with NFA, NPL and others prove futile or no audience is granted, then we will have to take it further by taking drastic actions for the sake of the players.”
Specifying his planned actions, Akan said breaking away from the NPL and NFA altogether is one of the options they could ponder if the leadership in football refuses to remedy the situation, saying it has been done in other countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, among others, and today the results speak for themselves.
Echoing Akan’s sentiments was local football coach Woody Jacobs, who urged NAFPU to redouble its efforts and start going out of its way to make sure the players’ welfare is adequately addressed and remains at the union’s fore at all times.
“If need be, NAFPU should even go as far assisting in hosting a small tourney that will feature various clubs and proceeds from that tourney would then be given to the players, at least it would help in one way or the other,” added Jacobs.