All the traumas concerning the absence of major English Premier League matches on the Telly will be temporarily forgotten tonight when the Mother of all derbies gets under way in earnest on your doorstep.
Domestic football appears to be on the right track following the Brave Warriors’ surprise qualification for next year’s continental showpiece in Ghana.
The Namibia Premier League returned the compliment by resolving to kick-start their league demographics with a top-of-the-bill clash between traditional rivals Black Africa and Orlando Pirates.
There’s no love lost between these two Katutura giants and tonight’s pipe-opener should possess all the necessary ingredients to keep the local football starving fans on the edge of their seats for the full 90 minutes of action.
In years gone by, there was very limited media exposure but alas, every Dick, even Tom and never mind Harry, including all those street smart dudes from the Kassie and Dolam surroundings, knew the essence of this particular derby.
It was the days of Spokes Tibinyane up against Ishmael “Lemmy Special” Narib, Abel Nero coming face to face with Albert Louw, and in the intervening years Norbertus Goraseb battling it out in the middle of the park with Lucky Boonstander.
Pirates’ ever best combination was the all conquering class of the seventies, which had the best pair of wingers ever to grace Namibian chores in Daniel Kooper and Willem Afrikaner.
On the other hand, Black Africa only came to the party when the club recruited the likes of Bethuel “Five” Hochobeb, Pius “Garrincha” Eigowab, Stu Damaseb, “Mombakkies” and Hassie Mingeri amongst the new generation of players who changed the face of Namibian football and ultimately paved the way for youngsters to cut their teeth in competitive structures.
Though the hype is still very much alive, the traditional derby has somehow lost its spark in terms of rivalry – who could ever in his or her sober mind have imagined that one day, a born and bred Black Africa laaitie in the person of Rudi Louw will be making his Pirates’ debut against his bread and butter. (I pray Uncle Boetie is not turning in his grave.)
Rudi is not your average player around the corner – he is a finished product and one of the best footballers of his generation and I bet my last cent, barring injuries, the pint-sized midfielder will be in Ghana when Namibia makes her second appearance at the continental showpiece, come next January.
To compound matters, Rudi is the offspring of former Black Africa midfield workhorse Carpio Kavendjii while his salie Ingrid was a noted netballer with Black Africa in her heydays. His grandfather is the legendary Albert Louw and both his uncles Hannes and Stakes Louw, were talented footballers in their own right with Black Africa.
Strange things do happen in football, but my somewhat oversized nostrils tell me the Ghost has finally arrived and this will be Pirates’ season come high water. I predict a very entertaining and high scoring match with the Buccaneers coming out tops.
The Role of Television in Modern Football
Yours truly has been following with keen interest the confusion and misinterpretations of Broadcast rights to football matches locally. A top footballer like David Beckham or Collin Benjamin gets paid millions of moolah to chase an inflated pigskin for 90 minutes – sounds crazy, isn’t?
All this happens in front of the Camera and this makes the difference – football is big business and the game is marketed through the lenses of Television cameras, otherwise locals would not be crying foul play over the scarcity of English football on the Telly.
According to recent reports, the country’s football authorities are embroiled in a tug of war with the national broadcaster over Television Rights for international and domestic league matches.
There is an unavoidable distinction between the Namibian Football Association’s line of authority and that of its affiliates and somebody needs to come to the party and smell the Java in this regard.
The NFA can only deal with broadcast rights concerning all national teams within the Namibian territory and domestic competitions such as the MTC NFA Nationwide Knock-out Cup, while the Namibia Premier League is the sole rights holder to all its league activities and other knock-out competitions under its jurisdiction.
It should also be clearly spelt out that teams participating in continental competitions such as the African Champions League and any other regional events are entitled to negotiate their own packages with potential broadcast partners.
On one occasion, the mother body tried unsuccessfully to prevent the public broadcaster from carrying out a live transmission of a Champions League Preliminary between Blue Waters and Primeiro de Augosta – but the football authorities retreated quickly after being told in no uncertain terms where to get off.
And while I wholeheartedly sympathize with the NFA for demanding that Caesar be given what is rightfully his – I have my own observations with the manner in which this issue is handled. We must do our utmost to prevent matters coming to irreparable damage – but it must be realized that things cannot continue this way!