Football’s supreme body in Namibia tries to stay afloat as the escalating costs to sustain national teams and to run its operations, erode its existence by the day.
The Namibia Football Association (NFA) has, over the years, been plagued by insufficient funding from the State. Hoever, the situation has turned into a desperation, as costs to sustain all its national teams have sky-rocketed.
The secretary-general, Barry Rukoro, admits all is not well at the soccer house.
“That money is not even near to cater for the activities we have here. We are talking of seven national teams including that of women’s soccer. We are talking of youth leagues, u/17, 20, 23, national team (Brave Warriors), women national team and for the daily activities,” he says.
NFA gets N$8m from Government each financial year and a further U$200 000 (about N$2m).
The Government funding is a drop in the ocean and is often used up before the end of the year, depending on the activity calendar of the various national teams.
“From that N$8m, we spend N$700 000 per game and that will never cater for an association that can host up to ten matches a year - or sometimes in a space of six months, if most of the national teams are engaged,” he says.
Rukoro says the association also struggles to get additional funding and wish to get more sponsors on board to fund its activities.
He is, however, pessimistic about getting more funds: “Securing funds will be hard as there are some individuals within some organisations that do not want to see football move forward”.
The soccer body has, over the years, been under heavy criticism for for poor results of the men’s senior team due to the consistent chopping and changing of coaches.
Rukoro expresses concern regarding the financial support from both Government and Fifa and argues they have the ability to give more.
The association is also hit hard by the ticket fares of the foreign-based players who are supposed to be flown in for international matches, especially the senior team players.
For European-based players, the association could spend at least N$15 000 to fly in a single player while the ones playing in South Africa could get the association fork out at least N$2 500.
Despite the financial hardships, the association is also worried about the consistent delay of the MTC Premiership, which does not start on time.
“The delay puts a big burden on national team coaches; both on the senior and juniors. As an association, we want the league to start on time just like any other league in the world. The league keeps players fit while on national duties. This gives the coaches extra work at training,” laments Rukoro.
Namibia Premier League chief administrator Tovey //Hoebeb, counters that there is no way the league would start if there is no sponsorship.
“We only decide to start with the league once our sponsor tells us so. Our negotiations with MTC are going well and if we knew it was not going well, we couldn’t have set up the date (19 October).
The NPL does not draw up the league fixtures on timem especially after weeks when the league has ended but //Hoebeb insists his office is working on them.