Windhoek-The leadership of the Namibia Premier League (NPL), Namibia Football Association (NFA) and Debmarine Namibia will be locked up today in a marathon closed-door meeting to decide the fate of the Debmarine Cup.
The round of 32 of the Debmarine Cup has for the past few months been under serious scrutiny after the majority of NPL clubs threatened not to honour their fixtures until activities in the country’s flagship football league are normalised.
The round of 32 include all 16 NPL clubs and the various regional winners that progressed from the elimination phase of the competition. The round of 32 games is expected to begin from April 22.
With the NPL having been quiescent for almost a year due to financial impediments, the majority of premiership clubs demanded that the financial situation of the NPL be fully addressed before they start contracting players.
The clubs feared that if the league’s financial muddle was not optimally addressed, they could face serious financial consequences of not being able to honour players’ contracts as almost all NPL clubs are solely dependent on the league’s subsidy for their operational costs and overall survival.
But with the recent assurance that former sponsors MTC will be back on board as league sponsors, the NPL’s financial calamity could soon be a thing of the past as the league is targeting a kick-off date of May 12.
But be that as it may with the positive sponsorship news, the clubs are still concerned and haven’t backtracked on their earlier decision to boycott the Debmarine Cup, but are this time around expressing concern about the players’ readiness and overall fitness to partake in the knockout competition come April 22.
With the Debmarine Cup’s round of 32 set for April 22 and the league’s envisaged kick-off date set for May 12, the clubs feel shortchanged, saying the gap between the two competitions is not ample to allow players to hit peak form – hence more time is needed to fully condition the players for both competitions.
The clubs’ general feeling is that the round of 32 should be postponed to late June or alternatively early July – at least once NPL activities are in full swing by then players would have had abundant time to have burned some oil before turning to the Debmarine Cup.
NFA secretary-general Barry Rukoro yesterday confirmed that a meeting between the NPL, NFA and Debmarine Namibia management would take place today at 14h00 to discuss the way forward for the competition, as well as address the various grievances raised by the clubs.
“I can only shed more light on the matter once we conclude the meeting but for now I’m really sorry, I can’t preempt what the outcome will be. Let’s talk after the meeting,” said Rukoro briefly.
The NPL’s Interim Committee member Ranga Haikali expressed hope that all parties would reach common grounds on the demands of the clubs, saying: “Our position is very clear on the Debmarine Cup, so I hope today’s meeting will be a fruitful one for the sake of Namibian football and our players. We are not here to cause destruction but we want to do things orderly, by first getting the league off in full mode and then the Debmarine Cup. So I look forward to today’s meeting.”