By Carlos Kambaekwa
As widely anticipated, the ambitions of no less than seven Namibians plying their trade in the South African Professional Soccer League (PSL) next season have been severely shattered.
The Premier Soccer League Disciplinary Committee has found Ali Akan’s FC AK and its owner Aziz Kara guilty on charges of bribery following a complaint by fellow Southern Stream Division One campaigners Black Aces.
Kara and his club stand accused of having attempted to bribe Aces goalkeeper Michel Babale, a former FC AK player to throw a league match against his former club. Ironically, Babale did not feature in that particular match which FC AK won 2 – 1.
The Disciplinary Committee considered all the arguments submitted on sanction and resolved that the bribery and corruption offences were of a very serious nature, as it strikes at the heart of the world’s football governing body’s (FIFA) slogan of “Fair Play”.
The DC felt a monetary fine would be inappropriate since a member and more so, its president, founder or owner should have no business in being reminded or warned to act ethically.
According to the PSL, in conjunction with FIFA statutes, the rules provide a banning and relegation in cases involving corruption and bribery, and the Disciplinary Committee after weighing the mitigation and circumstances surrounding the allegations resolved to impose strict measures against the respondents in a bid to send a clear message to would-be offenders.
Kara and his team were ordered to pay N$10,000 for contravening rule 54.15 of the National Soccer League rules, read with article 118 (3) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code and furthermore, Kara was handed a ban of 30 years – prohibiting him from participating in any football-related activities, while the club has been demoted to a lower division.
To rub salt into the wounds, the club together with its owner were severely handed a hefty fine of half a million dollars. The respondents have the right to seek refuge with the South African Football Association’s (SAFA) Appeal Board or arbitration.
Speaking to New Era Sports from Johannesburg last night, a clearly defiant Akan says Aziz Kara will fight the verdict tooth and nail and has enlisted the services of the three of the country’s best senior lawyers to file an appeal.
According to Akan, its business as usual for his charges as they are training for the eagerly awaited play-off clash against Coastal Stream winners Maritzburg United.
Meanwhile, the match has been postponed indefinitely.
The affected Namibian footballers currently on the books of the embattled FC AK are Costa Kheiseb, Ivan Namaseb, Rudi Louw, Freedom Puriza, Arnold Subeb, Dumiza Jantze and coach Ali Akan, a Kurdish naturalized Namibian.