NFA to Put Africa First – Mbidi

The president of the Namibia Football Association Frans Mbidi has expressed disappointment with Sepp Blatter’s resignation but said that they would continue supporting someone who put the interests of Africa first.

“As far as the NFA is concerned we are disappointed with Sepp Blatter’s resignation. I think there was pressure put on him to resign because most of the FIFA members supported Blatter and he enjoyed more support than any other candidate,” he said.

Mbidi said the bribery allegations and FBI arrests were an orchestrated campaign by Blatter’s opponents to force him out of office.

“The only way they could do it was to force him out – I think they pressurised him to step down because they could not get rid of him through democratic means. Regarding the bribery claims, there were no clearcut links to Sepp Blatter so they could have done the arrests after the congress,” he said.

The next FIFA president will now be elected at an extraordinary congress which will be called before March 2016.

Mbidi said anyone could stand for the post but the NFA would support someone who put Africa first.

“The period for nominations will start now and anyone is free to enter the race for the presidency of Fifa. Africa as a continent will have to support one candidate and the development of football in Africa must be part of his mission,” he said.

“The NFA will take direction from CAF where Africa is going. We are united under CAF. If Caf proposes a candidate, we will likely support it provided they promote the development of football in Africa,” he added.

Blatter’s largesse was demonstrated earlier this year in February at the Afcon finals in Equatorial Guinea when he announced a donation of more than US$1 million to each FIFA member association, including African associations.

Blatter announced a ‘special bonus’ of US$1 050 000 to each of FIFA’s 209 associations, and although Mbidi acknowledged that Namibia would also benefit from this, he said it was carefully budgeted for.

“FIFA does not just dish out money. One must first give them a budget on how you intend to allocate the funds and then they will see if it’s necessary,” he said.

“The one million (Blatter) mentioned was just a political statement because it also depends on the financial year – you don’t get the money all at once, it comes in portions,” he added.

Mbidi said the total was made up of different allocations over the past few years. These include a US$500 000 bonus from the 2010 World Cup, an annual grant of US$250 000 and a US$300 000 bonus from the 2014 World Cup.

Mbidi said they had submitted project proposals to FIFA on how to allocate the funds, with special emphasis on development.

“We are already in the process of using this money for the operations of the NFA and have identified several areas like women’s football, talent identification and youth football development.”

He said the US$300 000 grant was meant to cover expenses for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and that Namibia would do so.

“You have to follow the procedures and we have done that, so we will use these funds for our World Cup qualifiers. The funds look big but if you look at our operations it’s not that much. Our trip to Niger for our Afcon qualifier on Sunday amounts to about N$2 million alone, and now we also have to pay our own accommodation and transport there. In the past the host country was responsible for this but now you have to provide for this yourself,” he said.

Source : The Namibian