Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro Like hundreds of soccer lovers and supporters in Namibia, I am lifting my eyes up to the Namibia Football Association (NFA)’s long-anticipated Congress next weekend. Only now because although I have been a distant supporter of football in the country with only a once-in-a-blue moon presence at one of the national team’s home games, I would nevertheless consider myself a patriotic Namibian. This patriotism extends passively to football, albeit not blindly and unquestioningly. The last time I re-activated this latent patriotism as far as soccer is concerned, or is it football, whatever, was in our friendly game against Bafana Bafana. One thing led to another. The just-concluded African Nations Cup 2008 qualifier about two weeks ago against Ethiopia, I thought, was going to toast my uplifting of a self-imposed but somehow induced exile from football. Slowly but surely, my misperception of football in the country being run by an incompetent and half-baked clique of friends, partly my reason for my exile, was being eroded. I despise any semblance of lack of perfection. And the way football has been run somehow has been an epitome, at best, of organised chaos. Yes, there has been some respectability at the zenith of the code’s leadership partly infused by the honour of its patron. However, this respectability has seldom been trickling down to the foot soldiers. And that perhaps has been the seeming terminal illness of football in the country. Played at night, mid-week and the middle of the month, the Brave Warriors vs Bafana Bafana match did, understandably due to the relatively low crowd turnout, not deliver much organisational problems, especially the processing of the crowd into the stadium. Hence my halfway come back and near resuscitation of my football patriotism. But this has once again been suspended by the fiasco during our last game against Ethiopia. Imbued with renewed vigour and love for the national team, my two teenage friends, that is my son and nephew, and I, set out for Sam Nujoma Stadium via Soccer House for the tickets. Oh yes, I almost forgot part of the reason for shunning national games or any other event taking place at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, I have been and still find it hard to fathom the renaming of the revamped Mecca of football in Katutura after the Founding President. I think there are many football names of yesteryear equally deserving if not more deserving of this honour. Even the name Katutura itself should have sufficed, unless of course at one point or the other in the future the powers that be also think of abolishing Katutura as the name for this township as they did with the Katutura Stadium. In protest at this slap in the face of our footballers, fans and football administrators of years bygone, I vowed that never shall I honour this stadium with my presence. However, it has since dawned on me that the game and the national team playing its games there are bigger than my protest. Not that I have given up my protest but anything taking place there must really be bigger than my protest to see me there. Back to my aborted attempt to attend the match against Ethiopia. Something past two o’clock there was no one at Soccer House to dispense tickets. Perhaps, this is a normal thing in football but I found it strange that two hours before the beginning of the match one could not get tickets in advance. Unless of course they have sold out. I exactly feared the situation that played itself out at the stadium leading to some tear-gassing of eager fans trying to get into the stadium lining half miles of queues with the match already underway. Only two gates were processing the entry of the fans at an extremely snail’s pace. I never hesitated a while but to the disappointment of my two youngish company I made a U-turn. Two acquaintances, and who knows how many other people, seemed no stranger to this NFA chaos and in no time mazed their way in. How they managed could be a subject for investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission. The NBC TV’s live coverage of the game provided an immediate plan B for a fragile limb like me and my more fragile, tender company. My first stop for live coverage viewing of the match did not yield much with the TV picture an unending wobble. Seemed Vezera Kandetu and company have finally found a cure for those not paying their licences. I rushed on to a friend’s house. Luckily he has paid his TV licence and there was no interference with his viewing. We dug in front of the screen. Noticing some of the NFA staff doing duty during the match, he remarked that the more some things change the more they remain the same. Knowing him to be an ardent football lover, I was not surprised by his remark that he was home while the nation was engaged in such a titanic battle. At least I am not a loner in looking forward to the NFA Congress in two weeks’ time. Both ways, whether Muinjo is confirmed or not, the next NFA leadership has a full plate of do’s to whip the most favourite national sport into line. I don’t know when is the next home game but I am sure and thankful that it is only after the NFA Congress. By then I am sure a lot would have changed not to remain the same the more they change.
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