What Sins Did SKW Commit?

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Sports administrators can be a real pain in the rear part to many of their subjects, notably to those who have chosen to become pen pushers in the domain of what the world’s greatest footballer Edson Arantes Donascimento aka Pele simply duped the “Beautiful Game”. Yours truly has been following with keen interest the wrangles surrounding the validity of the registration of Sport Klub Windhoek’s gangling goal poacher Arend von Stryk. The 27-year-old lanky striker tried his luck with Dundee United where he failed to make an impression with the Scottish giants while the domestic Namib Premier League was in recess last year. Before jetting out of the country, von Stryk was armed with an International Transfer Certificate from the Namibian Football Association. After failing to make the grade during his trial period, the player returned to his native country to reunite with his former teammates at the struggling Olympia based club. At the beginning of the current season SKW, like all the other affiliates in the domestic league, went to the Namib Premier League office to activate the registration of their playing staff for the new season with von Stryk’s name also featuring on the list. The league’s directorate did not raise any alarm over his inclusion. After a poor showing upon their return to top flight football, SKW reinforced their playing personnel and recruited a number of experienced players such as former Black Africa utility midfielder Eric Aoseb and Duncan Subeb from cross town rivals Ramblers, amongst others. With the new crop of players, the team responded well and recorded resounding victories over both coastal outfits, Eleven Arrows and Blue Waters, to top the log standing after the resumption of league activities for the 2007/8 season. However, the celebrations were short-lived, as the Germans suddenly found themselves at the other end of the table before going into their next league assignments. At the centre of the storm is von Stryk’s apparent status after both SKW’s casualties, Blue Waters and Eleven Arrows, lodged a complaint claiming the said player was improperly registered with the Namib Premier League. Dear readers please pardon my ignorance, but my somewhat oversized nostrils tell me there is a sting in the tail somewhere along the line – firstly, who informed the aggrieved parties that there was something amiss with the validity of von Stryk’s registration? Secondly, why did the league register the player in the first place if his documents (don’t ask me which papers) were kamstig not in order? And to stimulate my suspicion – the NFA statutes clearly stipulate that all complaints be lodged with the match commissioner or match officials before and after the match or alternatively 48-hours after an irregularity has been detected. The matches were played on the 11th of November 2006 and the protest was only lodged on the 17th, six days later while the accused were only informed of the complaint on the 5th of December 2006. Everybody is talking about the absence of an International Transfer Clearance (ITC) from the Scottish Football authorities – even though unconfirmed reports are being circulated that the Scottish Football authorities requested an ITC from their Namibian counterparts before von Stryk’s departure. The issue of an ITC is irrelevant, as the player was never registered with the Scottish Football Federation. How the bloody hell does one issue a clearance to a player who is not on your books? This is tantamount to a player expecting a salary for attending trials with his potential employers while his previous team is claiming a transfer fee in the same breath. It would be quite interesting to see whether the League’s Disciplinary Committee will play by the book this time around should SKW be found to have violated the laws governing the game of football or we are likely to be exposed to the usual Kangaroo Courts in which a team can get away with a slap on the wrist for fielding a cup tied player. Last season, Civics won the league on a silver platter following the NFA’s rejection of a legitimate appeal by Ramblers, which sought clarity over the legitimacy of Costa Khaiseb’s registration after it turned out that he had played for three different clubs in one season – a practice that goes very much against FIFA statutes. The NFA would have none of this and told the Tunchel Street Boys in no uncertain terms to accept defeat in the spirit of the game, nogal. Following the departure of its former Secretary-General, yours truly sincerely doubt whether any sober minded administrator at Soccer House would have the guts to relay the same tail to both Blue Waters and Eleven Arrows. It would be certainly a sad day for domestic football if SKW were to lose their hard earned points on the green table because I strongly believe there is a high degree of mitigating circumstances in this whole case, so I rest my case.