NFA secretary-general Barry Rukoro was yesterday heavily forced to partially rely on the negotiating skills of the director of sport Shivute Katamba and NSC acting chief administrator Walter Haseb in convincing fuming Brave Warriors players to halt their plans of going on strike over outstanding monies.
Irate Brave Warriors players yesterday swamped Football House in Katutura threatening to go on strike until their outstanding appearance fees and bonuses are paid in full by the Namibia Football Association (NFA).
Failure by the NFA not to pay their outstanding appearance fees and bonuses in full or at least present amicable solutions to their grievances, the players threatened not to board the plane to Dakar where they have to face Senegal on Saturday in their last Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group K qualifier.
But luckily following hours of marathon negotiations behind closed doors, the three administrators managed to avert a potentially embarrassing strike as they promised to settle all the players’ outstanding dues by late yesterday or at least today by end of business.
Having already publicly declared that the NFA is financially-crippled and has been on life-support for the past few months, Rukoro yesterday once again repeated that the association is in no financial position to service the players’ wages – hence yesterday’s desperate move to call in Katamba (sports ministry) and Haseb (Namibia Sports Commission (NSC)) to come and explain the worsening financial situation to the fed-up players.
“These players are owed a lot of money for matches played including Saturday’s match against Senegal, so it was becoming increasingly difficult for the NFA to keep telling the players the same thing every day, that we have not yet received our money from government. That is why I had to call in Haseb and Katamba to come and explain to the players how the process of releasing money from the line ministry to its subordinates works,” explained Rukoro.
Rukoro commended the players on their response to the matter and further called on them to remain professionals. “It is not easy for the players but the way they handled themselves is exemplary. They understand the situation and will today leave for Senegal with integrity to proudly represent their country,” added Rukoro.
The Brave Warriors mentor Ricardo Mannetti also expressed his dissatisfaction, saying: “I’m not happy with the preparations leading to this game but we have to remain professionals, and deal with it and see how best to go around it. It is up to us to get the mentality of the players right.”