With barely two days to go before the country’s flagship football league, the MTC Premiership was to host its annual prize-giving ceremony, charismatic NPL Chairman Johnny ‘JJD’ Doeseb dropped a bombshell by announcing the gathering has been called off.
Doeseb explained in a hastily drafted press release that the last-minute decision to call off the event was necessitated by the league’s long-suspected financial woes.
“We started the season that just ended with a deficit of N$600 000 on our budget, with the hope we could collectively be able to raise revenues from other revenue streams to cover for the shortfall. Unfortunately this did not materialise, although we have been able to reduce the deficit substantially through budget cuts,” reads part of the statement.
Doeseb added that the first priority is to successfully conclude league activities and pay all the clubs their monthly grants, as agreed, and to secure the total prize monies of N$2.4 million, while maintaining the administration of the NPL office, including the prompt payment of employees’ salaries.
“If we have to sacrifice any other budget item, it would only make sense to cancel the awards, since we cannot sacrifice prize monies, monthly grants or staff salaries,’ he wrote. In his own words, the league was hoping to find alternative means to fund the awards, but such plans did not materialise, leaving them with no choice but to cancel the awards.
Nevertheless, this decision only affects the prize-giving ceremony as the deserving winners will receive their prizes, as initially planned.
The MTC Premiership only boasts one stream of revenue, which is the N$16 million principal sponsorship from MTC, released annually, which caters for the entire league and monthly grants to the 16 clubs.
Newly crowned champions Tigers will receive a whopping N$1 million with 2nd placed Black Africa taking home a consolation prize of N$600 000, while 3rd placed Tura
Magic takes home N$300 000. Dethroned champions African Stars, who finished a disappointing 4th place, will receive N$100 000.
Several lucrative prizes are also at stake for the players, coaches and referees. Player of the Season (N$30 000), Chairperson’s Award (N$30 000), Players’ Player Award (N$20 000), Coach of the Season (N$20 000), Referee of the Season (N$10 000) and Assistant Referee of the Season (N$5 000).
Meanwhile, league authorities are discussing ways how best to announce the nominees and thereafter the winners in the most cost-effective manner.
“We regret this rather unfortunate situation, as the objective of the MTC NPL awards ceremony is not only to announce winners but to serve as a celebration of the entire football community in the country,” Doeseb concluded.