African Stars Set for Hearing

AFRICAN Stars will attempt to have their suspension from football reversed when they present their case to the Namibia Football Association Appeals Committee tomorrow.

The club is appealing against a two-year suspension from all MTC Namibia Premier League related activities.

Additionally, the club is appealing against the NPL’s decision to extend the two-year ban to Stars chairman Sidney Martin and club director Clint Dauti as well as the N$200 000 fine “for bringing football into disrepute” among convictions.

The NPL has indicated that it may revoke the secession if Stars, primarily, retract their High Court case filed against the league governing body, the NFA and 11 other clubs.

The NPL will also look into lessening their punishment for the club for seeking relief from a civil court, which is a contravention of football disciplinary statutes, if they issue a public apology.

However, indications are that Stars are unrepentant, and have chosen to persist with their position. Stars have repeatedly gone on the record as saying that they intend to see the court case through. In fact, Martin has publicly refused to apologise, claiming that an apology would be an admission of guilt.

Instead, Stars’ appeal is centred around challenging their suspension, claiming that the NPL has erred in terminating the club’s membership when it held an Extraordinary General Assembly Meeting (EOGAM) for that purpose on 24 July.

Among several “fundamental fault-lines”, Stars claim the NPL misconceived its powers to terminate their membership by calling for a vote without a hearing, which is part of the broader misconception of the judicial process by the football authorities, which has in turn led to the “mistaken conclusions reached by the NPL EOGAM”.

To that effect, the NPL has threatened “to consider revoking their (Stars) membership with the MTC NPL permanently which means that the team called African Stars will cease to exist permanently in NPL.”

Should the suspension stick, it could have aerse knock-on consequences. Stars are arguably Namibia’s best supported team by quite some margin, with Orlando Pirates and Black Africa having the next best support base.

That sizeable fan appeal is creating a dilemma for the NFA, who are said to be in danger of forfeiting the Standard Bank Super Cup sponsorship due the protracted saga.

With only 15 days before the match, which pits the League champions against the Biest Namibia Cup winners, the Super Cup sponsors are said to have expressed their frustration regarding the unconfirmed identity of Black Africa’s opponents for the 30 August showdown.

Stars are the Biest Namibia Cup champions but at this stage appear unlikely to contest the match, owing to their suspension.

Should the NFA uphold Star’s suspension tomorrow, then it is likely that losing finalists Citizens, who recently won promotion to the MTC Namibia Premiership, will take their place.

The bank, which has sponsored the tournament to the tune of N$3 million for a period of three years, is said to be unhappy with the lack of mileage ahead of the match and has instructed the NFA to find a speedy solution to the long-standing dispute.

“We wish to inform the public that the MTC, NPL and the NFA has done everything in its power to avoid this situation, by aising African Stars on the correct procedures to follow as per our Constitution but they never listened and instead continued threatening the league authorities.

We are therefore confident that members have taken a decision that they feel was most appropriate and the MTC NPL respects the decision of its members,” the NPL said in a two-page newspaper aert late last week.

Source : The Namibian