Mobile Telecommunication giant, MTC wrecked many hearts last week by announcing that they are severing their 14 year marriage with the Namibian Premiere League because the later failed to raise N$9 million sponsorship top up needed to cover the shortfall.
Infact many were asking whether this was the day MTC decide to kill the beautiful game. Surely decisions that MTC made and why they made them are something akin to their privileges but the nation being left with tears on their cheeks over our beloved game is something worth discussing here.
Perhaps many are still digesting the reasons given by the usually soft spoken Tim Ekandjo which among many include that they plan to share the cake among all sports codes in the future. Alas details of that plan according to MTC can only be revealed in the future.
Interestingly among those that debated the issue including on Facebook and Twitter seem to believe that MTC knocked off anyone who had interest in sponsoring the world’s most loved game in the past 14 years with the notion of being the dominant sponsor if not the big brother of football but soon after everyone fell on the way side MTC are now fighting the game itself.
One would have expected that while MTC are within their rights to decide whether to continue supporting football or not, but we would believe that the company being somewhat owned by the public they would have the heart to keep a game supported by many of the taxpayers alive.
One would want to understand why MTC want to kill football? Indeed we look at such a move as literally killing football. How does a parent nurture his child into teenage hood and suddenly abandon that child before he or she gets to mature age. Football needs MTC more now than they have ever needed them and the sooner MTC realises this the better it is for progress.
MTC have been a good corporate citizen with their support of the most loved game but one wonders why they could not be open about not being interested in continuing earlier than normal.
MTC does understand that in a small market like Namibia there are not very many corporates keen to pour money in sponsorship as the budgets are tight. This notion merely means that MTC needs to continue paying leap service to the game of football until they can stand on their own.
There surely is no need for MTC to pull the plug abruptly like that in a manner that has potential to put hundreds of mouths to bed hungry?
NPL were sleeping on the job
Perhaps it is imperative to mention that the Namibian Premiere League top brass might as well have been sleeping on the job. Obviously the tell-tell signs that MTC was not enjoying the romance thought, but the NPL either chose to ignore or though Tim was going to bring that big smile and announce that the mobile telecommunication giant will do until death with football.
When MTC announced a while ago that they will only continue with the engagement with NPL if the top brass get additional sponsorship even a docile executive should have seen that the tables were about to turn. Tim pulling the rug on NPL only means JJD now needs to show his magic and find another sponsor, but oh dear oh dear what a herculean task.
Why Tim? Why?
The writer of this column usually does not poke his nose in matters that involve sports but that be as it may, I would also like Tim to give Namibia a comprehensive explanation at some point and clear the reasoning behind such a drastic move.
Perhaps the move by MTC was to teach the NPL to be innovative and also not to sit on their laurels but it surely does not change the fact that MTC decision is ill timed, heart wrecking and literally cast a dark cloud above the future of our football.
In his explanation Ekandjo emphasise that they have taken the decision to make sure the resources that were being splashed on soccer are also shared across the spectrum, but come on MTC this is soccer we are talking about, it certainly is not the most successful sport in the country but it brings together hearts, it eases tensions and certainly it deserves romance with the best in the industry like MTC.
Our bone to chew is not so much so against MTC but the impact of their decision.
MTC can at least reduce their contribution to soccer to at least something minimum but as long as they keep the supply chain moving.
Pulling out at once is tantamount to choking the beautiful game in a manner that it will never resurrect again from the doldrums.