Sports Perspective – What About Pirates?

The ongoing high profile football dispute in the country has centred mostly around the grievances of African Stars versus the alleged ineptitude of the football governors.

Stars have been very vocal about how they have been wronged and how they too want to enjoy the benefits of fair play.

While Stars may have a case, with regard to how the Namibia Premier League and Namibia Football Association have gone about handling the matter, there is also the not so small matter of Orlando Pirates’ position in this fiasco.

Stars want to replay the entire 90 minutes of an encounter in which Pirates were cruising to a 2-0 victory with just eight minutes of regulation time remaining.

According to Stars, they are the victims of the NPL’s manipulation of NFA regulations and the NFA’s gross disregard for Fifa rules, which the Premiership title hopefuls interpret to be in their favour.

Stars have gone to great pains to illuminate the fact that they had nothing to do with the power outage at the over-used Sam Nujoma Stadium.

Be that as it may, why should Pirates have to replay the entire match? Is that fair? What role did Pirates play in the floodlights failing on 16 April? What if Stars had tampered with the lights to create this conundrum to begin with?

Even though it is not improbable, the sinister theory that either side was responsible for a power outage that affected the entire Katutura East Constituency is far-fetched.

For Stars to pull that off, it would require clairvoyance and meticulous planning of epic proportions, while someone at Pirates will quite literally have had to be mentally deranged to sabotage what looked like a guaranteed victory.

The basis of Stars’ argument may be fundamentally correct but it is practically prejudiced towards their rivals.

That the NPL do not have rules to govern the country’s top division and lower divisions under its jurisdiction is nothing short of criminal, especially given that just about every other football competition approved by the NFA has its set of special rules.

Stars’ main issue though, as alluded to by club chairman Sidney Martin and coach Woody Jacobs, stems from the composition of the NPL Management Committee, which passed the ruling and is comprised of individuals representing teams that have a vested interest in the league’s outcome at the top.

That is why Stars approached the NFA, who ignored their appeal. Which is why they then sought the intervention of the High Court, whose involvement in the matter will most likely incur the wrath of Fifa.

Jacobs’ assertion that “it seems as if football played on the farm is much better organised than the football that is played here in town” is arguably as close as you’ll get to an accurate description of the game in a country where falling foul of the law is considered an admirable achievement.

However, he too was contradictory in his assessment of the issue, admitting that his side were not at their best that night but that they would appreciate another opportunity to put up a better showing against his former club and enhance their title credentials.

As it is, Pirates are more likely to wrest the NPL crown from Black Africa, who are targeting a fourth title on the trot and another N$1 million.

But should Stars get their way, they too could upstage BA and claim the top prize or settle for the consolation N$600 000 second prize, which is what the whole disagreement is really all about.

Stars do not find the N$300 000 third-place prize money attractive and will much less like N$100 000 if they were to end the campaign in fourth behind Tigers.

Source : The Namibian