In a huge jovial sigh of relief, the Namibia Football Association (NFA) yesterday officially unveiled Debmarine Namibia as the new headline sponsor of the NFA Cup, finally signalling the long-awaited return of the country’s biggest football showpiece.
The diamond prospecting and mining giant came on board with a handsome sponsorship of N$14.1 million over three years, which makes it an annual sponsorship of N$4.7 million per season.
The NFA Cup, which is the grand knockout competition, was last sponsored by Bidvest Namibia also for a period of three years and will now officially be known as the Debmarine Namibia Cup. The competition officially kicks off in February next year.
Speaking at the official agreement signing ceremony in the capital yesterday, the chief executive officer of Debmarine Namibia, Otto Shikongo, said they are proud to be part and parcel of the people’s game and that the sponsorship agreement with the NFA is part of their efforts of trying to create a conducive space for the Namibian youth through various ventures.
“Coming on board as sponsors of the NFA Cup is a target investment worth N$14.1 million and hence I’m calling on my team at Debmarine Namibia and my colleagues at the NFA to please make sure every cent is accounted for, and also to make sure that no money will used by certain officials to buy themselves Navarra bakkies. The money we are giving here today is hard-earned public money, that’s why I’m saying we should make sure every cent is well spent and equally accounted for,” urged Shikongo.
NFA president Frans Mbidi applauded Debmarine Namibia for choosing to empower and uplift the country’s youth and the masses through football.
“Our football has been and continues to be hit hard by lack of financial resources and as football leaders we have vowed to continue fighting in the best interest of those we represent – and today we are all very excited about the next route we are embarking upon with DebMarine Namibia for the next three years,” Mbidi said.
Mbidi added that the DebMarine Namibia Cup is the only platform that sees all the associations’ football clubs coming together – and that’s what makes the competition very special.
“I guarantee a high level of organizational ability from the NFA in this competition to ensure that we together enjoy a successful and monumental three years of exciting football. I promise that we will account for every cent spent during the course of the competition and we shall deliver with the highest professionalism,” said Mbidi.
The elimination rounds of the DebMarine Namibia Cup that will feature the first and second division teams start in February and will thereafter see all Namibia Premier League (NPL) clubs joining the fray in the round of 32 teams, which will then see the bunch battling it out for further progression.
NFA secretary general Barry Rukoro explained that from the round of 32 each club will receive N$18 000 all the way to the final for preparations, while the overall winners will walk away with N$500 000 in prize money.
Debmarine Namibia is a joint venture marine diamond prospecting and mining company, owned in equal shares by the Namibian government and De Beers. Debmarine Namibia became operational in January 2001 and mines in the off-shore mining licence area off the southern Namibian coast.