It was a bittersweet end to the 2015 season for the participants of the Samora Soccer League, affectionately referred to as Kasi league.
The independently-run league, which depends on participation funds raised from all 18 teams, has looked forward to the Kasi Cup in past seasons.
This is the end of the season competition organised in cooperation with the City of Windhoek for the top eight teams of the Kasi league, where winners win prizes in the region of N$9000 worth of equipment.
However, this year members of the popular Katutura league were disappointed when the Top Eight competition was called off. League organiser and Havana City team manager, Iyambo Awene, said that they were discouraged and it was difficult for the teams to accept.
“It was very hard on the teams, particularly for the teams that fought hard throughout the season and made it into the top eight for the first time. Some of the players even felt like it was even done on purpose, because some organisers’ teams did not make it into the top eight. It is hard because we had such a good and competitive season, which went down right to the wire”, said Awene.
The cancelation of the Kasi Cup was especially disappointing for the league, which was won by United Boys on 72 points at the end of October, as there were rumblings that the winners and runnerups were to get cash prizes instead of equipment like in previous years.
Awene previously told The Villager Sport that teams that were used to winning the Cup and already had their fill of kits and equipment were becoming less motivated to compete in the cup and were looking to competing for cash prizes.
Wakka (to confirm surname and title), from the City of Windhoek told The Villager Sport that the competition had to be postponed as the date that the organisers had determined for hosting the cup clashed with the dates for the recently held regional elections.
Unfortunately, as the league is vastly made up of young players, most of them who attend university, the tournament cannot be held again this year as many of them have departed the city to their various holiday destinations.
Team owner of one of the teams that missed out on the Kasi Cup after qualifying for the first time, Ruben Mghituwamaka said that, “We felt very bad. We worked very hard and it feels like it was all for nothing. If the municipality and the other sponsors knew that it was not happening, why didn’t they tell us well in advance? For the past three years, they have sponsored the teams that worked to get into this competition, so how are we supposed to feel if we get left out?”
He suggested that, two separate Kasi Cups be held in 2016. A new one for that calendar year’s winners and another one to wrap up this year’s events. Manager of Etunda United, Petrus Shaannika, whose team also qualified for the Kasi Cup for the first time this year, agreed with Mghituwamaka’s sentiments, stating that the teams that worked hard this year should not be forgotten.
“Next year, when the new budget comes out for the financial year, they should set aside funds for the 2015 Kasi Cup. It would not be good to just move to the end of 2016 and skip over us. I pushed my players very hard. We were going for forth, but ended up sixth. They were very disappointed to hear that the Kasi Cup was cancelled this year. They didn’t even want to participate in the Closing Cup for the season. I tried to convince them but their morale was too low”, he said.
Shaannika added, “I think the problem is the chief organiser, Wakka, was not around because he went to get married in Opuwo.”
Meanwhile, Awene said the league is striving to be more professional with the introduction of the red card and disciplinary bans this year, as players previously had poor discipline and some even wanted to fight the referee when decisions did not go their way.