The Villager (TV) this week sat with the Secretary General (SG) of Namibia Football Association (NFA) Barry Rukoro whose term ended on the 31ST of March this year.
Rukoro responded to questions posted by this publication on his achievements and challenges he faced during his tenure as the driving force behind football development in the country.
TV: How has your experience been serving the NFA?
BR: I am not out yet; I am still in the office. Nevertheless, it has been a great honor to serve such a huge organisation. It is a big orginisation which serves so many people and for me to be able to head such an organisation for so many years and to continue to do that is a real humbling experience. I am really honored.
TV: What are some of the challenges you have experienced as the SG of NFA?
BR: The biggest challenge normally in an institution like NFA is the range of services one must provide throughout the country. There are many football competitions and I have to attend to them all for the development of football in the country. One of the challenges is finding resources for all competitions. Money has been the major challenge because Namibia is a country with a very small population and you can not expect to make a lot of money from gate fees and so on.
It is thus always a big challenge to generate enough money to provide football to all the people.
We have to cover huge distances to be able to bring football to people and it’s very costly. So that is a big challenge.
Sponsorship is also another big challenge. The buying power of the country it self is not huge, so companies do not make a lot of money to be able to sponsor huge amounts of money like they do in other countries like South Africa.
TV: What has the NFA achieved with you as the SG?
BR: I always look at myself as part of the team and it is never about me even though I have done the work that I did. Without the support of the executive committee and the support of congress and other members of the secretariat it would have been very difficult to achieve what we have achieved.
In short, when I came into football the NFA had a total sponsorship of N$60 000 and now we are talking about multimillion dollar sponsorships. Sponsorships from the Namibian Breweries; Debmarine; Standard Bank; The Namibian; Scorpion Zinc Mine; MTC and the ones that I have not mentioned came on board under my watch. In most cases I was assisted by most able football administrators but the majority of the job that was done I was able to solicit for what we have achieved.
But of course Namibia is sufficient now as a country in which FIFA normally test its projects and if it is successful in Namibia it is then taken to the next country and that was through my work.
I have positioned Namibia in that state to be able to deliver FIFA projects successfully. Over the years we benefited so much from FIFA projects so much so that investment in terms of infrastructure that has been erected in this country has gone well over N$50 million which is more than any other country on this continent.
We are one of the countries that have sponsored competitions on this continent even country with much more pedigree do not have much sponsors as Namibia does. If you look at the new profile of our national teams we have recently won the COSAFA challenge, we have qualified for two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations when I incidentally was the acting SG.
When we qualified for Burkina Faso I was acting SG and in 2008 when we qualified for Ghana I was SG. As the SG we won the COSAFA under 17b championship.
Ever since I joined the NFA we always have a qualified financial report. Normally we will be about N$3 million in the red in terms of overdrafts but this will be the third year we wont be having any over draft.
NFA has more resources in its bank account than the money it owes to the cooperates. So the association is growing. That is what we achieved just to mention a few achievements.
TV: Has the job brought with it stresses?
BR: Yes, football is a very stressful game because you have to deal with two million different Namibians with different opinions as to how things should be run.
The lack of finance in our game is a very big issue and it causes one to stress. Football is a wonderful game in which you meet so many different people, it is a school of life.
You continue to learn and adapt to new circumstances every day and it is really something worth living for, so there is stress. But in the end there is always more in football to learn. You can just imagine the amount of stress we have to undergo.
TV: What changes do you expect to see from your successor?
BR: For me it’s really not about what I think or expect because every man wants to put his own stamp or mark. Every man has his own identity and wants to lead in a manner that he thinks is right.
I expect the next SG to bring his own style to the leadership and put his own stamp on the NFA because what I brought to football is not necessarily the alpha and omega. I pray that whoever takes over from me in the future will always have the interest of football at heart.
(photo credit: Etanga Sports)