Five months after winning the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) U-17 championship the country’s Baby Warriors have not yet been financially rewarded.
The Baby Warriors won the COSAFA Cup in July this year in Mauritius after beating South Africa by three goals to one in penalties.
Last year the Brave Warriors’ players were financially rewarded by the country’s president, Dr Hage Geingob, for winning the COSAFA senior challenge getting a cool N$1.2 million that excluded the technical team from benefiting.
The 20-member squad of the Brave Warriors each received N$50 000.
Speaking to the Villager Sport, coach of the Baby Warriors, Timo Tjongarero, confirmed that the team is yet to be rewarded even though he did not want to give more details.
“No, we did not get anything. I am not sure if we are entitled to get money but the players were supposed to get bonuses as part of the agreement,” said Tjongarero.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, Alfred Iilukena, said the ministry has not budgeted for the Baby Warriors and referred The Villager Sport to the director of sport, Shivute Katamba.
“When did they win (COSAFA Cup U-17)? We have not budgeted money, neither do we have resources but I cannot say that we will reward them or not. Ask Katamba who is the budget holder,’’ said Iilukena.
Meanwhile, Katamba refused to comment after referring our sports desk to the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), saying that he is not aware whether the team was rewarded or not.
“First talk to the Namibia Football Association (NFA) or the NSC. I am not aware of that. To be rewarded by who?” asked Katamba.
The NFA’s president Frans Mbidi said the Association do reward players immediately after competitions, saying that there is no national policy on rewarding athletes.
“We do not have a national policy to reward players. Government comes in once they appreciate your performances,” said Mbidi.
Chairperson of the NSC Joel Matheus said that the Commission does not have the policy to reward athletes but said that the Commission and the ministry of sport are working on a future policy to reward athletes.
“We do not have a budget. Normally our budget comes from the sport ministry but does not cater to reward especially the U-17 team,” said Matheus.
Meanwhile, new developments are said to have taken place in a case were Congo Brazzaville is alleged to have used overaged players in qualifying matches for the 2016 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) U-17 championship against Namibia and Tanzania.
The Villager has established that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is yet to make a decision on whether to ban Congo after the Federation reportedly paid flight tickets for Langa-Lesse Bercy and a doctor who was supposed to carry out a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test on the footballer, but the two did not show up.
In recent weeks there were reports that the country’s U-17 soccer team will be re-instated back into the competition with Tanzania.
However, the NFA leadership have expressed lack of faith in the CAF in dealing with age-cheating decisively after the country had to withdraw its appeal when it was overlooked.
“We paid the appeal fees on time but we opted to withdraw after CAF asked us to pay cost for the players to be tested in Cairo, Egypt for the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. We do not have that kind of money. There is no honesty and collaboration in CAF’s leadership. I do not like their leadership style at all,” said Mbidi.
The Tanzania’s Football Federation (TFF) also subsequently launched a protest, alleging that Congo fielded six overage players in their match. The player singled out to be overage is Bercy.