Windhoek-A cloud of uncertainty still lingers over the eagerly awaited entrance of the country’s topflight football league, the Namibia Premiership (NPL) into the domestic flagship knockout cup competition, the Debmarine Cup, after negotiations between the NFA and its affiliates reached deadlock.
The NPL Board of Governors (BoG) held a consultative meeting at the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Football House in Katutura, Windhoek on Saturday for extensive deliberations on the way forward. Amongst the pertinent issues under discussion were the sponsorship for league activities and NPL’s participation in the Debmarine Cup.
An insider revealed to New Era Sport that there is indeed a strong split in opinion amongst NPL affiliates over the teams’ entrance into the country’s flagship knockout cup competition.
Those with intimate knowledge of the unfolding events at the gathering told New Era Sport that some of the teams were eager to play, while the league’s heavyweights were apparently digging their heels into the sand – citing insufficient time for preparation.
“We are all in the same boat, after all, the rules of the competition provide us leeway by relaxing contractual obligations between club and players,” one insider said.
“All the participating clubs are free to register out-of-contract players for this particular tourney – hence one must genuinely applaud the NFA for this commendable gesture. This is a sign of meeting us halfway in the best interest of football,” charged the insider, who requested that his identity be withheld for fear of reprisals.
After numerous failed attempts to locate the NPL interim committee’s liaison officer, Evaristus Evaristus, New Era Sport turned to NPL ad hoc chairperson Franco Cosmos to shed light on the NPL’s position regarding the Debmarine Cup.
“We have undertaken a collective resolution and still stand by that. Our teams will not partake in any competitive activities, including the Debmarine Cup, before the league officially kicks off, simple as that.”
Cosmos made it categorically clear the decision should not be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to boycott the competition, or NFA activities, but was rather a carefully taken resolution based on professional grounds.
“In all honesty, we would love to play, obviously under conducive conditions, [but] certainly not under the current circumstances. Our clubs are simply not ready compete at that level and are in dire need of time and space to reach maximum levels of match fitness. That’s why we engaged all the parties to request a postponement.
“Sadly, our genuine and humble pleas fell on deaf ears, thus leaving us with no other option than to pull out of the competition,” stressed the youthful legal practitioner.
Pressed to answer whether the decision to withdraw carries the blessing of all NPL affiliates, Cosmos remained steadfast that only a handful of teams want to participate in the Debmarine Cup, adding that the resolution is an NPL decision.
However, the league’s “makeshift honcho” fell short of explaining what measures will be taken should the “handful” of aggrieved teams opt to go ahead and participate.
The NPL is yet to provide tangible answers as to why teams from the national division one streams have been allowed to partake in the said competition without any squabbles, despite being bona fide members of the very same disgruntled organ (NPL).
Meanwhile, it has emerged that negotiations with several potential sponsors of the NPL are at an advanced stage and only a few logistical touches remain to be made before the deal is finally signed, sealed and delivered.
“Apart from the principal sponsor -whose identity we do not want to disclose at this point in time – we have also provisionally received positive feedback from a few other potential financial backers and are hopeful the deals will be concluded within the not-so-distant future,” Cosmos said.