By Otniel Hembapu
WINDHOEK - Clubs plying their trade in the country’s flagship football league, the MTC Namibia Premier League (NPL) were yesterday left to kick their heels in frustration after NPL chairman Johnny ‘JJD’ Doeseb announced the cancellation of the annual MTC NPL awards ceremony slated for Friday.
According to Doeseb, the scrapping of the awards is due to the seemingly unending African Stars protests against the NPL’s decision to have their abandoned match against Orlando Pirates resumed for the remaining 8 minutes. Stars want the remaining minutes annulled and rather have the entire match replayed.
“We have taken this decision after some consultations with our main sponsor MTC, where we also briefed them on the developments regarding the Stars/Pirates issue. Our sponsors have been understanding and patient thus far and we would like to commend them for according time to deal with this matter to the best of our ability,” said the NPL chief.
Despite having been accorded the necessary time and understanding by MTC, Doeseb promised that the NPL would speedily and carefully deal with the matter to avoid any damage to the integrity and image of MTC.
“Regardless of the situation, I want to inform the public that the NPL have duly opposed the application lodged by African Stars in the High Court. In the same vein, it is our sincere hope that decisions taken across the globe in similar matters, which are in line with the values of FIFA, shall be set and adopted by the High Court in this matter.”
Approached for comment on the cancellation of the awards, MTC’s Tim Ekandjo distanced himself from the debacle, saying MTC is just a sponsor and will not get involved in football matters.
“We have no jurisdiction over this matter – we will therefore not interfere in any way. We have however appealed to the football authorities to ensure that this matter is finalized as quickly as possible and in the fairest manner, because whatever is decided now will forever become a point of reference in future when similar incidences occur,” said Ekandjo.
“As sponsors we have also communicated with the NPL and expressed our concerns on how the ongoing saga is compromising the terms and conditions of the sponsorship agreement between MTC and NPL,” said Ekandjo.