‘Cease-Fire’ – Parties Agree

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By Confidence Musariri Namibian football took a commendable twist yesterday when all the warring parties agreed to a cessation of hostilities, New Era witnessed. Flanked by Deputy Interim Committee leader, Anton van Wyk and Executive Board member, Korbinian Amutenya, FIFA Development Officer Ashford Mamelodi announced the mediation of the greatest milestone in Namibian football, as the country’s football which was “on the verge of an immediate FIFA suspension”,took a positive turnaround. “There shall be no more stone-throwing as the Interim Committee and the Executive Committee have agreed to work together as one until a newly elected NFA Executive Committee is appointed by the 31st of October 2006,”announced Mamelodi at a media briefing. As part of the truce, all the recommendations made in the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) roadmap shall be followed and the moratorium placed by the sponsors will be lifted, coupled with the resumption of the league. “It’s back to business as usual,” said the Batswana in a jovial mood. As such, there shall be an election of new regional bodies by the 11th of October, followed by the election of a new NFA Executive Committee on the 28th of October. A new constitution will be drafted and signed into effect on the 31st of January 2007, said Mamelodi. “The end product of this end to hostilities will see a properly elected NFA Executive on the said dates,” noted the FIFA officer before appealing for the regions’ vitality in crafting the future of Namibian football. The deadline for nominations and submissions of proposals is billed for 6 October. Both FIFA and the Confederation of Football Associations (CAF) will have observers at some of the congresses of the regional leagues. The end of aggression also saw the formation of an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) consisting of three members each from the Interim Committee and the NFA Executive. Such a commission will be under the chairmanship of the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) President Agnes Tjongarero. The Interim Committee members are Walter Kameeeta, Willie Swartz and Anton van Wyk while the NFA Executive will be represented by Jacky Gertze, Imms Nangolo and Kwella Kapenda. Mamelodi said that the independent commission’s members would be served with terms of reference, adding that their sole responsibility is to supervise and ensure that elections are in accordance with their terms of reference. “We have the awards to organise, and everyone must go to the awards ceremony because we are all one,” continued Mamelodi. Interim Committee President Hendrik Dawids and Acting NFA President John Muinjo were both observed to be in absent as they both stay out of the capital. Mamelodi said the new constitution is vital, as the current copy did not meet the demands of modern day soccer. “Today’s football requires active participation of the premier league and the constitution did not accommodate this. Clubs nowadays take an active role in football. Of course they do not deserve veto power but there should be a bond between the club and the association in the running of football. We need the constitution strengthened so that no one takes advantage of the other or of the constitution. There shall be consensus.” The Constitutional Review will thus strengthen the current statutes, enlarge the representation of Namibian football stakeholders such as clubs, women’s football, coaches or players’ associations in the NFA Congress, and to reinforce the unifying role football can play within the country. Mamelodi who is the same FIFA official who mediated the failed talks in Kenyan and Ugandan football which resulted in FIFA banning the two countries from their activities, commended all the parties as “relatively not bad”. He refused to spell out the consequences of further feuds within the NFA, “but I can assure you, Namibia was on the verge of suspension and I would not want to have negative thoughts, after such an achievement. One may not believe it, but we had meetings that stretched into the early hours of the morning in order to achieve this,” he said. No sooner had Mamelodi announced the latest end to hostilities, than the consortium of sponsors went into a closed door meeting with the FIFA official. Amos Shiyuka, who represented MTC, told New Era that the sponsors would want the advice of Mamelodi “but the nation can be rest assured that the moratorium will be lifted and the sponsors will remain in the game. We expect to announce the resumption of the league, a week after the awards ceremony, because as it appears everything is back on track,”Shiyuka observed. NFA’s Barry Rukoro also spoke in the same vein as Shiyuka, “I cannot confirm the actual dates but the league might resume in a month’s time,” he said. The FIFA report seemed to have severed the ties to an irreparable extent a fortnight ago, when it made no mention of the NFA Interim Committee, formed at an ad hoc congress last month. It had prompted both parties to trade insults and spew bad blood in the media. “All that is history now. It’s the game that suffered but as FIFA we are happy that everybody has come to terms and agreed on one thing. FIFA does not care who the president of an association is, it cares for normalcy and a democratic election procedure,” Mamelodi said. It was all smiles as NFA Secretary General Alfeus Gaweseb and Anton van Wyk, both former arch-nemeses in the squabbles, shook hands and posed for photos. Gracing this historic afternoon was the Permanent Secretary of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Dr Peingondjabi Shipoh, Director of Sport Dr Vetumbuavi Veii and members of the Namibia Football Consortium (NFC).