Those that read this column have noticed that I haven’t said anything on African Stars ever since they were banned from the Namibian Premier League (NPL).
I didn’t because I wanted to let the dust settle and now that the saga seem to have ‘calmed,’ it’s about time that the Insider Column pronounce itself on the matter.
We all know that it started in the heart of Katutura on April 16, 2014 when Stars were playing one of their vicious rivals, Orlando Pirates. Pirates were leading 2-0 with 10 minutes remaining when the floodlights went off. But the saga only deepened when Stars refused to play the remaining minutes which resulted in them going to court, bringing the league to a halt, and that is what led them to getting banned.
Word doing the rounds right now is that, African Stars led by its owner Sydney Martin is being stubborn. But don’t they have a case?
The Namibia Premier League (NPL) claims to be having a rule that suggest that an abandoned match ought to be replayed – only in the remaining minutes. The irony is that the NPL is relentlessly failing to bring such prove to the table. This raises questions as to whether or not Stars had the right to go to court after all.
On the other hand, when the court ruled that the league can go on, Stars could have swallowed their pride and let the issue go. Not to mention that they did eventually swallow their pride, albeit, too late since the league authorities were fed up – and so was I. I was so fed up that I wrote a piece highlighting what tasks the NPL procrastinated on. The fact that the NPL failed to act swiftly and bring Stars to book is a case in point.
Stars were eventually banned for two years and I must admit I didn’t see the two years coming let alone Stars to be banned simply because I came to the conclusion that NPL was a coward. I never thought they were able to ban a team let alone that of Stars’ status… oh boy, didn’t they just prove me wrong? Not quite just yet!
I hear you asking why? ... The answer is simple; come September or whatever the month the league starts, I still expect African Stars to be competing in the NPL.
While Stars cannot be compared to Barcelona, I still compare their case to Barcelona when the Catalans were banned from signing players for the next two transfer windows for breaching regulations relating to the international transfer of players under 18 years of age, but just three weeks later the suspension was put on hold until a final decision on their appeal was taken.
While I don’t expect Stars ban to be overturned so quickly, I still expect it to be overturned sooner or later.
In fact, had it not been for Stars’ stubbornness, their status in the top flight could have been assured already as word on the street is that Stars were given two options, either to start the 2014/2015 season with a 10 point deficit or to just pay N$200 000, but again when stubbornness plays a part, things won’t just go according to plan . . . of course Stars reportedly turned the offer down.
Speaking of stubbornness, by the time this saga is over; they probably would have used more money than what they won over the course of the previous season.
African Stars is a big club and the league will suffer without them but Stars have tested NPL’s credibility to the maximum so it’s up to NPL to maintain their credibility . . . But in the meantime Stars will be playing in the 2014/2015 league or can NPL prove me wrong . . . again? . . . It’s over to you NPL.