I’m prepared to step down – Doeseb ‘MTC should pronounce themselves’

Windhoek-The protracted on and off sponsorship negotiations between the country's flagship football league the Namibia Premier League (NPL) and its principal financial backers MTC have reached boiling point.

In a recent twist of events NPL chairman Johnny 'JJD' Doeseb accused the former NPL partners of having indulged in an unending hide and seek game.

It's now a well-documented secret that negotiations between NPL and MTC reached a deadlock after unsuccessful attempts by the league to solicit the required budget shortfall of N$9 million, whereupon MTC provisionally withdrew from further negotiations with the league.

After some deliberations the cash-strapped league at its annual general meeting (AGM) last November decided to approach MTC for further negotiations.

At the AGM it was resolved that NPL draft a formal letter to MTC requesting the company to reconsider its position. MTC responded by requesting the NPL to submit a revised budget within the confines of the N$15 million previously availed by MTC.

"We did submit the revised budget but up to this day we have not received any response from MTC regarding the matter and it's now really becoming frustrating. In terms of good corporate governance we have always dealt with the MTC executive but it now appears that route is no longer applicable," said a clearly agitated Doeseb.

Doeseb further said the only feedback they are getting from MTC is through the media and hearsay that MTC is reluctant to release funds, and would only make the N$15 million available once certain individuals within football administration are removed or step down.

"MTC should come out and pronounce themselves on these unconfirmed rumours. To be quite honest and in the best interest of Namibian football, I'm prepared to step down if that's the case with them (MTC). Let's think about the players that are suffering, not Doeseb."

Doeseb adds that MTC must play open cards so that the matter can be put to bed because in the long run the players are the only people that are affected as a result of this delay punctuated by personal egos.

Approached for comment yesterday, MTC spokesperson Tim Ekandjo rubbished allegations of them first wanting certain individuals out of football before they could release the promised N$15 million to start the league, insisting that the NPL's infightings have nothing to do with MTC or its negotiations with NPL.

"You would recall that MTC parted ways with the NPL last year. The reasons were clearly explained in a joint press conference between MTC and NPL. MTC has ever since not made any comment or statement with regard to returning to the league, and our position remains the same. MTC has always been a very transparent brand when it comes to communication around our sponsorships and other investments. While we are aware that there are so many rumours out there, we would like to urge the football community to refrain from such rumours as they only tarnish the image of football, and further give potential investors more reasons not to invest in the beautiful game," Ekandjo said.

"MTC has never given the NPL such a condition, i.e. that MTC will only sponsor the league when Doeseb, or any other member of the NPL, resigns. That would be blatant interference in football as these members are elected by the football leadership. MTC will not under any circumstances get involved in the internal politics of football, and or any other sports codes," he explained.

"We have had the pleasure and privilege of having been associated with the NPL for the past 14 years - that relationship has come to an end and we have absolutely no regrets. My advice to the football community is to unite now more than ever - the current divisions, backbiting and name-tarnishing do not benefit the players who are currently jobless. No responsible corporate will invest so much money in a divided organization.

The leadership in football needs to be mindful that potential investors are monitoring the situation, and it is up to them to either build the brand or burn it to ashes," cautioned Ekandjo.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia