Officially opening the FIFPro Africa Division Congress in Windhoek yesterday, Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo touched on the importance of Africa realising the vital role that sports, football in particular, can play in uplifting deprived societies.
With one eye fixed on the challenges faced by the continent, the veteran politician said the time is now for African governments to start putting more emphasis on the empowerment of youth through football, saying football has proved its powers to unite, uplift and bring hope to the hopeless.
“I was quit disappointed to note the small number of African countries that are FIFPro members. We must realise the importance and increase the number of Africa states in FIFPro organs, it’s the only way Africa can improve its overall standards and start addressing it’s challenges on the international arena with other continents such as Europe and others,”
“Just recently when our Brave Warriors won the Cosafa Cup, the whole nation was in jubilation and we as government handsomely rewarded the players for their gallant efforts. So it goes on to tell you that we as leaders must step up and support our players and reward them for their efforts. Just like us, they too have families to take care of, so a support system must be in place in order to support their efforts and livelihood,” said Ekandjo.
Namibia Football Association (NFA) President, Frans Mbidi also reassured that the country’s football governing supports NAFPU’s quest of improving the welfare of local footballers and their overall living standards.
“The NFA has structures in place that compliments the efforts of NAFPU and we are further committed to help wherever we can in order to fully address the various burning issues local footballers are facing. But it’s not entirely the responsibility of NAFPU to better the lives of footballers; the players themselves must also behave accordingly and within the bounds of their contacts. You cannot abuse alcohol and drugs the way you want, as a football and role model in society you have to behave in a certain way as you also represent your club wherever you go,” said Mbidi.
Brave Warriors Cosafa Cup winning captain Stigga Ketjijere and his Brave Gladiators equivalent Stacy Naris were also amongst the guest speakers who touched on the various struggles faced by footballers, urging NAFPU to carry the interest of footballers without fear or favour.