Football and politics seem a million miles apart – in fact in all reality they are – but yet the relationship between the two is unique in many ways and appears inseparable many a time. I have realised that the two share many similarities, more than most us may expect.
I have always likened the two because just like politics, football has massive audiences and just like politics, football – if used for the wrong purpose – too holds great power to generate extreme tribalism, racism, regionalism and all sorts of evils not desired in modern-day societies.
Let me also add that just as in politics, in football there are also infighting and disagreement along the way, and just as with politicians football administrators also reach their sell-by dates quickly, whilst others have a longevity that is admired nationwide.
Here at home, football has over the years proven its prevailing ability to timelessly serve as a bringer of peace and joy, thanks mostly to our beloved Brave Warriors in their recent success. But sadly, local football has also been used as a lame excuse by some outworn administrators to bring unwanted infighting and disruption in order to feed their unquenchable thirst for riches, personal interests and relevance.
Namibian footballers plying their trade in the country’s topflight league, the Namibia Premier League (NPL), were forced to go for more than a year and a half without employment, a year and a half without adequately providing for their loved ones, a year and a half without income to put food on the table, a year and a half living life in despair – and this was all due to the dormancy of the league caused by nothing other than endless boardroom politics among football administrators.
And mind you, the league’s existence was almost severely suffocated by administrators who failed to wake up and realise that they have reached their sell-by dates and are no longer relevant to the game.
Or perhaps to put it bluntly – these are administrators who have nothing left to offer to Namibian football but are rather seeking shortcuts to self-enrichment at the expense of players, who are the real custodians of the beautiful game anyway.
And while the NPL leadership, and thankfully the entire general public, have strongly shot down the letter recently written by four rebelling clubs (Tigers, Black Africa, Blue Waters, Orlando Pirates – although Pirates and Waters later distanced themselves from the letter) to the league’s headship to apparently postpone the start of all NPL activities at least for another six weeks, I would also like to hop onto the bandwagon and strongly condemn such intentions from the four aggrieved clubs.
After witnessing what we witnessed in the last year and a half, no Namibian in his right mind should again allow a situation that will ruin the lives of our poor footballers and bring Namibian football into disrepute. Not again!!!
If the letter does really contain any valid grievances, then those clubs should rather seek internal avenues to deal with whatever issues they want to raise and if there is an issue of shortage of players, I’m sure the league’s able leadership could seek ways and means to assist those clubs. But further halting football is not one of the options on the table. Sorry!!!
So while the few cynics and armchair critics are busy sweating under their collars out of frustration in their various boardrooms, our local footballers and the entire nation will this weekend be out to witness the much-awaited return of premiership football. As the street lingo goes: “While you are busy catching feelings, we are busy catching flights.”
On that note, I say let’s all go out en masse and rally behind our various teams, wherever you may find yourselves this weekend. After a year and a half without football, our players will need that kind of support and not only the footballers, but the league’s two kind sponsors, MTC and FNB, as well deserve it.
Until next time, sharp sharp!!