Let me first pay tribute to outgoing chairman of the Namibia Premier League (NPL) Johnny ‘JJD’ Doeseb, starting off by wishing him all the best in his future endeavors while also appreciating and sincerely thanking him for the immense contribution he made towards the growth of local football at all spheres over the years.
Although Doeseb’s sudden but somewhat projected unceremonious departure from the helm of the country’s Premiership football leaves room for a lot of questions than answers, l strongly believe Doeseb’s departure could somehow be a blessing in disguise. How is it a blessing in disguise?, one would ask. I say it is a blessing in disguise in the sense that it will finally accord Namibian football leaders and administrators a chance to do some serious introspection as a fraternity and as individuals.
With the exit of Doeseb, I really don’t think there is much need for us as a country to rush into appointing interim committees to steer the NPL ship in the absence of a legitimate chairman but what we as a country needs to do is to put everything on hold for a while, sit down and do some serious soul-searching as far as what we want as a county, as a football fraternity and as individuals tasked with the massive responsibility of adequately serving the real custodians of the beautiful game – the footballers/players and fans alike.
While one would have loved to dwell on the politics of what really lead to the hasty resignation of Doeseb as chairman, in the interest of time, allow me to chalk up and share a few ideas with you on how we can take Namibian football from point A to point B as far as professionalising our league and getting our house in order is concern.
It’s an open secret that the funding of football and sport in general in the country is pathetic and unbelievable and to add insult to injury, we also have a bunch of visionless and self-centered individuals running the affairs of our various public institutions – especially in the sport fraternity and that partly contributes to the ailing fortunes of local football.
I have said it on countless occasions in this column, if we really want to see tangible results as far as professionalising our league and clubs is concerned, we urgently and seriously need to adopt a new approach that will lead to the eventual professionalisation of Namibian club football.
First and foremost, we need to get rid of all the deadwood and rotten apples holding influential positions in the structures of local football and introduce a new concept on how to professionalise club football in the country.
To start off, the new concept should have uncompromising power and ability to pull to together professionals from all walks of life; be it in the technical, marketing, PR, Legal, finance, medicine, ICT, media fields and others important areas.
These should be professionals who understand that what Namibian football currently needs is not the usual politics but our football needs a lucid strategy and a business-like concept to move within touching distance of other leagues in Africa, such as the South African and Nigerian leagues.
If we are to seriously embrace this concept, local football leaders and administrators should all understand that institutions are bigger than individuals and hence a radical shift in attitude and the way of thinking will be needed.
As I said, this new concept will strictly require the NPL to set up a board that will embody a fine mixture of integrity, moral and business etiquette – strictly people who will add business value to the league and its operations.
That would also mean we have and must get rid of the current league structures, which is the Board of Governors (consisting of all 16 clubs) and the Management Committee (consisting of certain clubs members), as they have proved over the years that they don’t add any value to our football and equally don’t have the required acumen to move us forward as far as professionalism is concerned.
We really don’t need two incompetent structures to run a league, in fact what we actually need – as I earlier said – is one board that boasts all the ingredients needed to run our league as a business. If need be, the new should be independent (not consisting of clubs) and should report back to the clubs periodically on the various developments.
Just like in any business setup, this new board should be able to create a management team that will be headed by a CEO for the day-to-day business of the NPL. The staff should be recruited professionally by the board and give all qualified and competent Namibians a fair chance to apply.
All these so-called football gurus middling in the affairs of the NPL should go back to their respective clubs and throw their weight behind their clubs to help them grow into brands.
Once this structure is in place, with the NPL board and management team created on merit, right from the board to the messenger, we the stakeholders as well as the shareholders will rightly demand results.
In civilised environments such as the UK, football is purely business and is managed as such by technocrats with no more interests other than business-oriented – hence I strongly say we should mimic the English setup and see how it works for us back at home.
Until next time, sharp sharp!!!