A large contingent of officials from the Namibia Football Association (NFA) together with partner Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) arrived in Oshakati to inspect the stadium for the hosting of the maiden edition of the NFA Tafel Lager Cup, slated for next month.
But the 8 000-seater Independence Stadium in Oshakati, constructed at a cost of N$20 million, is in a sorry state and can at first glance easily be mistaken for a neglected garbage dump with grass almost non-existent. The dry surface could potentially compromise the safety of players.
However, officials from NBL are having none of that and have promised to make things right.
NBL sponsorship manager, Danie Keulder, was adamant that they could not take the game to the nearby Uukwangula Stadium, situated approximately 10km outside Oshakati, as that would take the glamaour off the football spectacle.
“Our ultimate aim is to bring more football to the people because we strongly believe it is the number one sport for the inhabitants of our country – hence our decision to have matches played at the Indepdendence Stadium because we want many people to come and watch the games in a conducive environment.”
Keulder, a former national team cricketer, acknowledged that the field is currently in a bad state but was quick to assure that NBL would burn the midnight oil to get the field ready for the matches.
“On a smooth, well-maintained pitch, football has a graceful quality, even in the middle of a hard-fought game. However, when the field is bad, the entire match becomes bad as well,” he said.
Players would find it difficult to control the ball on an uneven surface, which would slow the tempo of the match.
“It’s very important for us to level the pitch to do justice to the game of football and help the players enhance their skills during the competition.”
The four-day tournament starts on the first weekend of next month and concludes the week thereafter on Deecember 12and 13.
The first round of the competition will include regional first and second division clubs with the four regional winners to earn automatic qualification for the final phase in Oshakati.
The NFA delegation was spearheaded by NFA president Frans Mbindi.