Windhoek-As far as Frans Mbidi, president of the Namibia Football Association (NFA), is concerned, the NFA has no obligation to entertain the demands and grievances inscribed in a petition recently handed to the association by the Namibia Football Players Union (NAFPU).
NAFPU this month held a low-key demonstration at Football House in Katutura, where the union’s president Lolo Goraseb and secretary-general Olsen Kahiriri handed a petition to the NFA executive, in which a raft of demands and grievances as well as other issues affecting local footballers were strongly aired.
Amongst the many demands petitioned to the NFA, the players union demanded the Namibia Premier League (NPL) and NFA, in consultation with NAFPU, introduce standard contracts for all players and a minimum wage of N$5 000 for each footballer plying his trade in the beleaguered NPL.
Also in the petition, NAFPU demanded medical cover and an appearance fee of N$15 000 for senior national players as well as the end of proxy player agents who mostly hail from NFA coaching staff, as such practice compromises the selection quality and transparency of national team players.
In a wide-ranging interview with New Era Sport recently, Mbidi rubbished NAFPU’s petition, saying the NFA has no obligation to the union and will not entertain the demands petitioned to them by the union.
“As far as I’m concerned the NFA does not have any link with the players’ union and thus I cannot answer or pronounce myself on the petition. Who do they represent because as far as we know, they don’t have players under them, so who do they represent? We will not answer to such demands,” said Mbidi.
Mbidi further shot back: “They are also claiming the NFA’s financial reports are not in order and have not been audited for the past five years. That is a total lie because our books have been audited for the past years, even before I became president of NFA. So now tell me, how do you guys expect us to entertain such people who are lying to the public saying our finances are not in place while the truth is that our books are clean. The union people are liars and are there to serve their own selfish interests. If they want to seriously address issues then they should follow the right structures.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Kahiriri remained unfazed saying the NFA must officially respond to the demands petitioned to them within the given timeframe or otherwise they will have to escalate the battle to court level.
“As much as I would have loved to give Mbidi a good response to his so-called decision not to entertain our petition, I will rather just advise him to do the right thing and revert back to us through an official letter of response or otherwise we will be forced to seek recourse in a court of law. The NFA received our petition and they even rubber-stamped it, so in unionism that means we followed all the right channels in handing over our petition and they should follow the right channels in responding to us,” said Kahiriri who further challenged the NFA to visit his office and see for themselves how many members the union has recruited as per the number provided to the NPL by NAFPU.