NPL sponsorship under scrutiny: Ekandjo

WINDHOEK: The continued sponsorship of the Namibia Premier League (NPL) is under serious scrutiny, the Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs Tim Ekandjo says.

He made the statement during the MTC/NPL 2013/14 awards’ ceremony here on Friday, noting that his company is already considering looking for another sports code to invest in, if football does not “pull up its socks”.

“At the moment, I don’t want to elaborate more on this but I wish to remind the football public that the investment from MTC is not immune to removal. The sponsorship by MTC for the next season is under a serious microscope, and I do not know whether we will be a sponsor come next season,” he said.

Ekandjo’s remarks follow the ongoing saga between NPL club African Stars, the NPL and Namibia Football Association (NFA).

Stars are unhappy about being forced to play and abandoned match for only eight minutes, and took the league and NFA to court in that regard.

However, their appeal case was thrown out of court because it was not deemed urgent.

Stars eventually played the eight minutes, and lost to Orlando Pirates 0-2, the same score line as 16 April when the match was abandoned after an electricity failure in the area of the Sam Nujoma Stadium, where they were playing, at the time.

Stars were still not happy, and later threatened further action if the NPL goes ahead with the awards’ ceremony.

Ekandjo said MTC has strictly adhered to one principle as sponsor, not to interfere in the league.

“As sponsor we will never make any interference in football and/or dictate to the league authority what decisions they must take or not take,” he stressed, adding that they know the international football federation rules.

Ekandjo further reminded the league of MTC’s investment of N.dollars 15.8 million, while other sports codes are suffering for countless years without financial support.

He added that the only reason MTC is investing in football is because it wish to keep aspiring players’ dreams alive, so that they may one day participate in continental and world cups, “maybe not in this lifetime but one day”.

Ekandjo stated that no club or person will ever be above the game of football under any circumstances.