Rukoro Questions ‘Govt’ Threat

The Namibia Football Association’s secretary general Barry Rukoro said it would be “a disaster” if government were to get involved in the long-running domestic football feud.

Rukoro took exception to threats by the Namibia Sports Commissions’ Ndeulipula Hamutumwa, who on Friday said government would intervene in the dispute involving the NFA, Namibia Premier League and African Stars, if the football authorities were unable to find solutions.

Hamutumwa made the ultimatum while delivering the keynote address on behalf of Minister of Sport Jerry Ekandjo during the MTC Namibia Premier League Awards televised live by the national broadcaster NBC on Friday.

“I also want to make it categorically clear that what we have said and our observation when we have seen the various in-fights that are taking place, please take note that government is paying a keen interest of what is happening. If you are unable to resolve the issues in football, government has the necessary machinery to take over,” said Hamutumwa, whose proclamation caused a stir within the audience at the Safari Hotel in Windhoek.

In response, Rukoro said on Monday that Hamutumwa’s off-the-cuff assertion was unwelcome and ill-aised.

The NFA is already in a precarious situation with Fifa, who do not tolerate the involvement of outside parties in football disputes, after Stars decided to take the dispute, over their abandoned match against Orlando Pirates, to court.

Stars wanted the entire match replayed instead of the NPL prescribed eight-minutes which they played out, under protest, on 2 July.

Fifa recently suspended Nigeria over court proceedings and prevented the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the NFF Executive Committee members and the NFF Congress from running the affairs of that country’s football.

However, after the statutory order was reinstated at the NFF and the legitimate bodies reinstalled, Fifa decided to lift the suspension on Friday.

“I think Mr Ndeulipula [Hamutumwa] when delivering the speech of the Minister should keep to the Minister’s statement because what he says will be taken as the words of the Minister,” Rukoro told The Namibian Sport on Monday.

“It would be a disaster in Namibian sport if that should happen. I must say that what he [Hamutumwa] said is very ill-informed both in fact and in spirit. The Namibia Football Association has not gone to sleep on this matter and we are busy finalising the conclusion of this matter. When we are found as incapable of resolving the matter, then he and anyone else can comment on it,” Rukoro said.

Meanwhile, Ekandjo was of the opinion that the perennial public squabbles of administrators give sport a chequered image, which in turn, wards of potential investors.

In particular, Ekandjo said he would like to see an amicable solution sought through mature and informed dialogue as opposed to a media circus.

“The government has observed in recent times various infighting amongst the leaders in sport. This paints a wrong image of the game. It is our joint responsibility to always safeguard the interests of the owners of the game and that is the players. We have a collective responsibility to ensure that the inheritance of our future generation is protected at all times. We must always be mindful that when elephants are fighting it is the grass that suffers,” Ekandjo said.

“Let us become sensitive to the players and come on the table to resolve any conflicts that might arise in the process of developing this beautiful game of football.

“There is wisdom in dialogue and broader communication in the art of conflict management.

Sport has no room for egos and personal gratification. Sport has no room for self-interests. Sport has room for sacrifice and dedication. From now on, let the game of football always be the winner,” said Ekandjo.

Source : The Namibian