WINDHOEK – The secretly kept frosty relationship between business mogul Sidney Martin and Katutura glamour football club African Stars has come to a premature end.
New Era Sport has been reliably informed that Martin has parted ways with the club he has been bankrolling since the 2008/2009 MTC Premiership season.
Although ducking club officials tried to pour cold water on Martin’s sudden exit – New Era Sport opted to seek clarity from the horse’s mouth.
Quizzed as to why he would leave the empire he has built and while on the verge of claiming a third league title under his stewardship – a clearly annoyed Martin said he could no longer stomach the unprofessional behaviour of the club’s minority shareholders.
The multiple business mogul under Martin Shareholdings owns 75% shares in the club with the remaining 25% owned by Club 500.
He lashed out at the apparent habitual failure by Club 500 to meet its financial obligations – a practice he claims has rendered his position untenable.
“From the first day when we signed the agreement between Martin Shareholdings and Club 500, the minority of members for some strange reasons never honoured their financial commitment despite numerous reminders to heed the call. That’s totally unacceptable,” charged a clearly agitated Martin.
Martin adds that in order to protect his family trust, he was left with no other option than to surrender his position as club chairman. “For several years it has been extremely difficult to get funds from shareholders leaving the trust to carry all the club’s expenses on its own.”
He reveals that he has put his 75% shares on offer for N$1,00 per share adding that the matter has been filed with the Master of the High Court in Windhoek.
Pressed to reveal the estimated amount in shares, he responded by saying the sum is quite substantial.
“Everything is in the hands of our auditors to finalize all the nitty-gritty. I’m obliged to protect the interest of the trust and cannot compromise that by sitting arms folded watching how responsible adults deliberately dishonour written agreements.”
Martin’s arrival at Stars yielded immediate dividends as the usually success-starved club won its first league title under his stewardship in his debut season and claimed a double the following year.
Martin brought a new dimension to the game, jacking up salaries and introducing a medical aid scheme for players.
The cash injection yielded the desired results as the team started to improve – with subsequent success luring previously disgruntled fans through the turnstiles.
Former Black Africa blue-eyed boy Bobby Samaria was recruited to take over the coaching reins replacing Zimbabwean mentor Gilbert Rwasoka, and the little corporal won back-to-back titles in his first two seasons before he was unceremoniously ushered through the exit door for failure to add to his fairytale success.
Much travelled mentor Ali ‘Mr Fix It’ Akan was brought on board and the outspoken Turk quickly won the hearts of the usually hard-to-please Reds followers by delivering the season’s pipe-opening league cup, the MTC League Cup, followed by success in the inaugural edition of the lucrative annual Bidvest Cup.
However, the sharp-tongued Akan was summarily grounded after falling out with the uncompromising Martin over the club’s transfer policy.
His departure paved the way for Woody Jacobs to take the hot seat that saw the ambitious young mentor retain the Bidvest Cup and come close to the coveted league title.
Jacobs was given a second bite at the cherry with the sole mandate to bring the league title (the missing one) back to Diaz House.
Jacobs, son of former Chicitto lead vocalist Skwana, duly obliged as the Reds are now on the brink of claiming the MTC Premiership this term with five matches left.