Bottomless Pit

THE veil of secrecy surrounding the finances of the recently launched Dr Hage Geingob Soccer Cup is unnecessary and raises suspicion of illicit behind-the-scenes behaviour.

Word is that the new cup competition is more resource-laden than the Namibia Premier League, Biest Namibia Cup and The Namibian Newspaper Cup put together.

Also, the visiting South African club apparently only agreed to come here if they were guaranteed a N$2 million-plus appearance fee on top of their transport and accommodation fees.

That there is no prize money for the winner already renders this competition redundant. There is little motivation for Sundowns players, who have endured an arduous campaign and are already looking forward to their holidays.

In essence, one exhibition match against a Sundowns team on vacation will not make you a continental beater, which is the main motivation behind the concept of the tournament.

That would constitute another corner-cutting exercise.

The Cup is a joint venture between Windhoek Draught and MTC in conjunction with NBC, Namibia Airports Company, Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino, NFA, Skorpion Zinc, City of Windhoek and Air Namibia.

The organisers would have been better served redirecting all these resources into the NPL, the lower leagues or other football development initiatives.

The prize money for all the leagues in the country can be substantially improved with just the N$2 million being donated to Sundowns.

That figure will in most likelihood quadruple, should the organisers succeed in attracting a notable European club to our shores.

There are many ways to honour Prime Minister Hage Geingob for his contribution to football in this country.

Why not name a section of the Independence Stadium, where the most vocal supporters sit, after him? Or in keeping with the times, how about erecting a statue of Geingob at NFA Soccer House with the revenue generated from Brave Warriors matches and other competitions?

But if our beloved NFA really want to honour the honourable Prime Minister, why not establish an annual reserve league for players aged 18 and under and christen it the Dr Hage Geingob Youth Football League?

That would be more fitting, especially since, according to NPL chairman Johnny Doeumlseb, “he [Geingob] has more youthful friends than himself (sic)”.

Tim Ekandjo, whose MTC is one of the Cup’s main sponsors, gave Sundowns’ Trott Moloto a rundown of our unfortunate football climate during the new competition’s lavish launch.

Ekandjo said “80 percent of these young men are unemployed” and are heavily reliant on the wages they earn at their clubs, which is “an average of N$4 000 per month”.

These footballers use their meagre income to put bread on the table, he said.

It is no secret that the cost of living, especially in urban areas, is escalating by the minute, and that the majority of NPL players reside in Windhoek given that over half the clubs in the premier division are from the capital city.

While N$4 000 may appear a fortune, if the situation of most underprivileged people in the country is taken into account, it is in reality insufficient to sustain many a household for a month.

Additionally, the event’s timing could not have been any worse. It comes at the business end of our season, when our clubs are either fighting for the title or against relegation in order to remain in the Namibian Premiership.

There are league fixtures scheduled to be played the day before the exhibition match, and a day later, some of the players involved in the one-day tournament will be on a plane bound for Pointe Noire to face Congo Brazzaville in the second leg of the Caf Africa Cup of Nations preliminary qualifier.

It is an unwelcome distraction for our players, who will most likely now be too pre-occupied with devising a plan on how best to put on a performance that could persuade the visitors to pluck them out of obscurity and into the limelight of the PSL.

Source : The Namibian