By Carlos Kambaekwa
WINDHOEK – In the latest twist of things, Katutura glamour football club African Stars have made a sudden U-turn and say they are ready to take to the field to complete their league assignment.
The Reds return to the same venue tonight to confront Pirates for the remaining eight minutes. Stars downed tools after their appeal to have their abandoned match against FNB Orlando Pirates be replayed in its entirety was dismissed on a technicality.
Stars sought to have an earlier decision by the Namibia Premier League (NPL) Management Committee (MC) reversed after the MC ruled that the abandoned clash be replayed over the remaining 8-minutes plus the referee’s optional time.
The recently crowned Bidvest Cup champions sought refuge with the courts and managed to survive, albeit temporarily, to bring all football activities under the auspices of the NPL to an abrupt halt through an urgent court interdict.
However, the claim was dismissed by the Windhoek Magistrate Court and struck off the roll after judge Petrus Unengu, ruled the club failed to substantiate the urgency of the application or how they were prejudiced.
Stars have declared a dispute with the NFA, NPL and all its affiliates and though the club strongly believe that traditional civil courts are not best suited for ventilation and adjudication of sporting disputes, their application was unavoidable.
“In terms of our understanding of Article 80(2) of the Namibian Constitution (the supreme law of Namibia) and which inter alia states that The High Court shall have original jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate upon all civil disputes and criminal prosecutions, including cases which involve the interpretation, implementation and upholding of this Constitution and the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed thereunder. African Stars cannot be precluded from approaching the High Court, in order to resolve this dispute, especially in instances where it is simply denied any other recourse,” reads a statement from Stars.
The club says the urgent application which was ultimately struck off the roll on the 26th of this month, will continue in the normal course and the club will prosecute this to its conclusion and thereafter ultimately accept the outcome thereof, favourable or not.
“Our club does not currently enjoy any obvious and/or express interdictory protection and is thus enjoined to participate in the resumption of the abandoned match of 16 April 2014”.
Contrary to their stance, Stars has now agreed to replay the match as suggested by the MC and has informed the league and all relevant stakeholders accordingly.
“In agreeing to participate in the match, we are not abandoning any of our rights and regardless of this participation we will continue with the application. Should we be successful with the application, we will go all out to recover any damages that we might as a result become entitled to”.
In addition, Stars rubbished reports published in various local dailies, suggesting the initial appeal launched by the club against the resumption of the match as opposed to the replay thereof, was fraudulent.
“We are shocked at these statements and deny that our club or its management has acted in a fraudulent manner. We condemn the issue in the strongest possible terms,” concluded the strong worded statement signed by the club’s chairman Sidney Martin.