First Division football nearing kick off

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Otniel Hembapu

WINDHOEK – All logistical arrangements are at an advanced stage to get the ball rolling in the country’s Nationwide First Divisions (NFD), with activities expected to be in full swing in all three streams this weekend, Chief Administrator of the Namibia Premier League (NPL), Tovey Hoebeb, said yesterday.

First Division football was initially scheduled to start in April but was later postponed as a result of persistent administrative and financial hiccups. The NFD comprises of the North East, North West and Southern Stream First Divisions.

“The plan is to see all three streams in full swing this weekend and at this stage all I can confirm is that all logistical and administrative aspects are at advance stage for this weekend’s kick off. All we are waiting for is for the NFA Secretary-general Barry Rukoro to assist in sorting a few technical issues and then the ball will get rolling. But I cannot touch on everything for now as we still have to iron out some small stuff like I indicated,” Hoebeb said briefly.

It was resolved that each stream would divide its 12 teams into two groups/pools of 6 teams and the two pool winners will then proceed to play in two-legged home and away matches to determine the eventual stream winner, who will be promoted automatically to the NPL. The sixth-placed teams in each pool will be relegated to the second division. This format will apply to all three streams, Hoebeb explained.

North East Stream First Division (NESFD) chairperson, Mpasi Haingura also confirmed the kick-off, saying they wanted to have the matches played during the past weekend, but could not as the referees were already assigned for NPL duties.

“It was resolved at the NFA meeting in Omuthiya last month that the NFA will fund each stream with N$666 000. We have divided our stream into pools of two, with six teams in each group,” Haingura explaining the format, saying this was done to save on traveling costs and for the league to finish on time.

“Rounds one and two of the NESFD will take place this coming weekend with games scheduled to be played at Nkurenkuru, Oshikango, Bagani, Rundu and Katima Mulilo,” said Haingura. –Additional reporting: Nampa

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