Shooting from the Hip Carlos Kambaekwa Just as I was about to shift my attention away from the beautiful-turned-ugly game, comes the news that the country’s leading teams resolved to bury the hatchet with former chairman, Anton van Wyk. Van Wyk was reinstated to lead the Namib Premiership for another four-year term at a meaningless Extraordinary Congress in Windhoek last week. What is boggling my mind is the rising number of participants at the Congress, 14 to be precise. But alas, is the Namib Premiership not supposed to be a 12-team league – both Premier League debutants-in-waiting Friends and Golden Bees were ostensibly invited to be part of the proceedings amid confusion over their current status. Friends won the Southern stream of the Nationwide Division One, and therefore gained automatic promotion to the elite league, while the status of Golden Bees remains in limbo following serious allegations of match-fixing. Yours truly is led to believe that the presence of Chief Santos and Touch & Go at the Congress resulted from their outstanding appeal against their relegation, an argument that has the approval of the Namib Premier League – hence van Wyk’s position as Vice-Chairman on the NFA Interim Committee. At the centre of the storm is the country football authority’s earlier pronouncement that its members were not in good standing with the parent body following their failure to cough up outstanding membership fees by the end of March 2006, which rendered them irrelevant at the time when they requested an urgent audience with the mother body. The aggrieved members then seized the opportunity and exercised their constitutional right by signing a deed of settlement to activate their membership which led to the formation of the NFA Interim Committee after a vote of No Confidence in the current NFA leadership was endorsed by 12 of the 15 affiliates. Fair enough, my learned friends were and are still questioning the legality of all activities under the auspices of the NFA after March 2006, but then the very same concern must be registered on other issues pertaining to football as well – relegation and promotion cruises in tandem, that’s where the buck stops. Fact is; why did the Namib Premier League rope in Friends and Golden Bees at its Extraordinary Congress while in the same breath disputing the relegation of both Chief Santos and Touch & Go? Why did the very same teams and officials that are vigorously challenging the legality of all league activities after March 2006, unashamedly rock up at the NFA year-end function to claim some moola and other accolades whilst in total disagreement with the process which led to the togetherness of the gathering? Both Chief Santos and Touch & Go have advanced legitimate appeals contesting their relegation – thus calling for all football-related activities to be suspended until such time as their appeal is heard, but this call was seemingly treated with kid gloves by the Namib Premier League and could have far-reaching ramifications. Not surprisingly, the usually unproblematic Mbakumua Hengari of African Stars opted to take a stroll alongside the path of Charles Dempsey at the Congress, because the sharp-minded fellow might have sensed the consequences of what was going to unfold in the long term. The football-loving public fully understands the urgency for implementing the FIFA Road Map which calls for all NFA affiliates to wrap up their elections by the end of October 2006, before the National Elections – but the manner in which the Namib Premier League went about their business makes a gunk of any logic. Firstly, the constitution clearly stipulates that participants must have their membership fees paid up if they are to enjoy voting powers, but this law was circumvented once again – leaving open the validity of the entire process. Secondly, the remaining ten teams in the Namib Premier League, whose current status in top-flight football is already confirmed, should have been the only ones with a say in the proceedings while the quartet of Santos, Touch & Go, Friends and Bees awaits their fate. This whole exercise has now thrown the cat among the pigeons, and some dudes at Soccer House are certainly in stitches now because their nemeses have unwittingly given credence to earlier pronouncements by the John Muinjo-led group. Is it not perhaps time for teams to stop grumbling and to put their moola where their mouths are? – the very same teams in the Namib Premier League who not so long ago cried foul and fed the football-loving public with news that Van Wyk has become irrelevant in their structures, have now made a sudden U-turn and thrown the brother another lifeline. Van Wyk narrowly scraped through after brushing aside his namesake, Peter, in a fierce battle, and I just hope the latter’s close resemblance to disgraced FIFA official and former COSAFA president, Ishmael Bhamjee, had little to do with his downfall. Yours truly has it on good authority that four clubs have aired dissatisfaction over the manner in which the Congress was conducted, but I seriously doubt whether that would have been the case had their preferred candidate emerged victorious. The fact that these teams participated in deliberations at the ill-fated Congress makes them privy to the outcome and should bear collective responsibility for the ultimate consequences of their action. Football administrators are like fired-up chameleons, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the so called disgruntled regions suddenly change their allegiance at the much-anticipated NFA Extraordinary Congress later this year. On a rather sad parting shot, I’m at pains to stomach the news that one of the most promising football administrators in modern times, Wessel Nanuseb, had to throw in the towel because of unwarranted interference and back stabbing. I hope those who have now taken over the reins at Orlando Pirates are able to continue where “Ou Wes” and company left off and not steer the smooth-sailing buccaneer ship into troubled waters as has become customary practice in years gone by. Heita outjies – its jibbos again to call it quits for now. So until next Friday, I’m off.
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