By Carlos Kambaekwa
WINDHOEK – The dust refuses to settle in the aftermath of what is being referred to as an unlawful and unjust suspension meted out to Namibia’s leading cyclist Raul-Costa Seibeb.
Seibeb’s grounding left a sting in the tail with the young cyclist coming out with guns blazing accusing the Namibian Cycling Federation (NCF) of having fabricated charges against him for his no-show at a recent international competition.
Amateur cyclist Seibeb, 23, slammed NCF officials saying they are acting in bad faith and being economical with truth regarding his last-minute withdrawal from the Namibian Cycling team’s participation in the African Championship underway in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, which serves as qualifiers for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Seibeb informed cycling authorities on the eve of the team’s departure for South Africa that he was no longer committed to represent his native land on a voluntary basis, demanding compensation.
The young cyclist added that he was charged, tried in absentia, found guilty accompanied by subsequent sanctions in a kangaroo-style court that was not properly constituted. He further rubbished NCF President, Mannie Heymans’ half-hearted submission that Seibeb was present at the said disciplinary hearing.
“That’s absolute hogwash, it was never communicated to me be it in writing or by word of mouth about any disciplinary proceedings being waged against me nor was I asked to submit a report or informed of my constitutional right to seek legal advise.
“I only got a call that I should go and collect a letter from Heymans’ office – only to learn in dismay that I have been unfairly suspended without a proper hearing.”
When asked whether the cyclist was made to sign the suspension letter under duress, Heymans boastfully responded that the boy should keep his mouth shut since he (Heymans) has sincerely donated the bicycle Seibeb uses.
“He is welcome to repossess his bike, I’m fed up with these sickening manoeuvrings that clearly amount to blackmailing. As far as I’m concerned there was no written or verbal agreement that I should dance to his tune whenever he shouts just because he gave me a bike,” fumed Seibeb.
Pressed to avail the minutes of the disputed gathering, NCF Secretary-General, Gerrit van Schalkwyk promised to follow suit but never lived up to his undertaking at the time of going to print.
Surely, the suspension does not sit well with Seibeb, who vehemently denies that he was present when the decision was taken to send him packing from representing his motherland until December 2016.
“Look, I’m the only breadwinner in a family of five adults. I need to be compensated for my sweat so that I can be able to put food on the table.”
The agitated Seibeb said he would now rather channel his energy towards local races where he is at least guaranteed some money never mind the size – adding that he is now obliged to look for full-time employment in a bid to keep hunger at bay.
Sources with intimate knowledge of manoeuvrings at NCF revealed to New Era Sport that currently Seibeb endures a frosty working relationship with Hella Rust, one of the federation’s bigwigs – saying this unpleasant animosity makes them to conclude it could have triggered bad blood between the young cyclist and his seniors.
In the meantime, Seibeb has called for divine intervention from the presiding sports body and portfolio ministry. He feels strongly hard done and appeals for corrective measures to be taken via a thorough investigation into the internal affairs of the NCF by the relevant authorities.