I’m not to blame for NPL mess – Geingob

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Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-President Hage Geingob yesterday strongly dismissed misplaced notions that he does not care about the ailing state of local football and that as patron of Namibian football, he has done little to rescue the situation.

On the contrary, Geingob was quick to steer clear of any misplaced perceptions, saying since the Namibia Premier League (NPL) embarked on its journey down a slippery slope last year after severing ties with longtime headline sponsors MTC, nobody from the football fraternity bothered to engage him or brief him on the various challenges faced by the sport.

“Football problems did not start last month or this year. It has been there and I will state again that nobody from the football administration came to see me, but the problem has been there yet nobody bothered.

“Last month on the 16th of February, I got a note from [former NPL chairman Johnny] Doeseb asking for an audience through the sport ministry. The letter only came last month. Did the problem start last month?” Geingob asked.

“So, it’s very unfair for people to say I have done nothing, while the letter was only addressed last month. Having observed the above, I wrote to the line minister and tasked him with the responsibility to set up an independent committee to look into these problems and provide guidelines on the review of the current Namibia Sport Act and sport policy to help guide us with resource allocation and the prioritisation of sport codes.

“That’s why I recommended the establishment of an independent committee of experts to conduct sector assessments, report findings and to present recommendations towards the ‘Remedial Sports Intervention Plan’, and the minister took action and on the 28th of February I got feedback about their action plan and the deliverables,” the president said as he explained how busy they have been behind the scene.

Having outlined the above, Geingob then wanted to know how he was the cause of the muddle currently faced by Namibian football if he was only “formally “ engaged last month and in that short space of time he has been busy proposing possible solutions.

“Now I would like to know when did the football problems start? Before I’m accused of doing nothing? Hence, it will be very unfair to accuse me of doing nothing and in fact it will be equally unfair to say I did not interfere in football problems.

“Because like I said before, FIFA does not allow government interference in football matters. If I had done that, Namibia would have been suspended by FIFA. It has happened to many other countries before,” the Head of State reminded his audience.

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