Sport commentary: Strategic intervention required in Namibian football
By Ndeulipula Hamutumwa
THE COUNTRY IS riddled with vicious and unhappy power struggles between the broad leaders of Namibian football.
The highest echelon of leadership in prominent sport is expected to always protect the interests of the organization and the nation.
I was jovial and paid a courtesy visit to the new leaders after their successful elective convention.
This sportsmanship gesture was intended to affirm my unwavering support for the new leadership in the development of football at all levels.
My good intentions, however, have not received proper and timely feedback, appreciation and consideration. Little did I know that the long-awaited soul battle for the public good has become the order of the day.
I must hasten to point out that leadership in general should be reinforced by checks and balances.
Public leaders have the power to manage the affairs of public institutions with care and diligence in the best interests of the nation.
This means that whatever they do should be in the best interests of those who have entrusted them with the keys to public service.
Back from Cape Town recently for a national mission, my colleague Alex Clive Gawanab asked me the fundamental question: “How can we resolve the balance of power in football?
It got me thinking about the inspiring words of Martin Luther King Jr when he said eloquently, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.
In this regard, citizens cannot afford to remain silent on issues of national importance, such as football.
Isack Hamata, a senior sports administrator, warned that “we need to create goodwill among the sponsors by managing the leadership transition with a certain degree of sensitivity.”
The football leadership crisis has left the nation bleeding.
It has divided the nation along tribal, ethical and regional lines, it has deprived players of a sustainable monthly income to support their families and has crippled the soccer supply chain, including small vendors, transportation, accommodation and information technology companies, as well as local suppliers of team clothing.
In addition, technicians, such as referees, lose contact with the game and their level of fitness is compromised.
Referees are no longer selected to officiate at international competitions due to inactivity and what is happening in the country.
In addition, football tourism has become non-existent in local towns and municipalities.
The rush gave the game a bad reputation and scared off local and international sponsors and investors.
The struggle for power has strained the country’s preparation and competitiveness at the international level.
Confidence in football leadership has been eroded to zero.
The ability of football to change lives is in jeopardy. What is there to do?
The football fraternity should urgently convene an introspection indaba to address issues such as leadership crisis management, investor confidence, reputation management and reconciliation.
It is important that leadership looks at itself in the mirror and relegates egocentric and selfish leaders.
Indaba should also devise strategies to eliminate leaders who promote factionalism, tribalism and regionalism.
Despite this noble expectation, football leaders will not be able to reconcile without national strategic intervention.
Sports Minister Agnes Tjongarero has tried in the past to reconcile different football factions. These efforts were greeted with cold water and were seen as interference.
This is contrary to the fact that the government is periodically called upon to intervene and support football with financial resources.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended that President Hage Geingob, in his capacity as head of the Namibian Football Federation and Head of State, intervene and mediate between factions in the best interest of the nation.
A corps of eminent personalities is expected to be appointed to help the president start a new chapter in football.
This approach would prevent the country from being placed under administration by Fifa through another standardization committee.
It would be a shame if Fifa had to establish another committee to rectify a situation that it believed could be resolved through the electoral process.
How do we want the world to see us if we are not able to run our own football business?
How can our players, men and women, compete with other nations when disturbed by shenanigans at home?
The sum of our respective egos should not be allowed to inflict further damage on the local and international reputation of football and the country.
Football administrators should never be allowed to deny innocent young talent the fulfillment of their dreams in the name of personal interests and politics.
Football belongs on the playing field, not in the meeting rooms.
* Ndeulipula Hamutumwa is the president of Namscore Sport Consultancy [email protected]