Namibia: Troubled Pirates Loiter in the Shadows

CASH-STRAPPED and with its management in disarray, Orlando Pirates are likely to pay a hefty penalty after they again failed to attend a hearing at the Labour Commissioner on Tuesday.

At least that is what the Namibia Football Players' Union (Nafpu) expects when the Labour Commissioner delivers its verdict after Pirates failed to pitch at the dispute resolution chamber for the second consecutive time. The initial hearing on 23 June was rescheduled to 12 July.

In the dispute before the Labour Commissioner, Nafpu are seeking that Pirates be compelled to pay outstanding players' salaries, which the club failed to disburse since April.

"They [Orlando Pirates] did not show up for the hearing again. They were contacted even when we were there, but they failed to appear. So, now we're just waiting on the Labour Commissioner to announce the findings in the matter," Nafpu president Sylvester Goraseb told The Namibian Sport on Wednesday.

With a dysfunctional management in place, Pirates have remained mum on the issue. Their chairman, Ali Akan, claims to have resigned from his position, and has deflected queries to the rest of the inactive management team.

Historically one of the leading lights of Namibian club football, Pirates have fallen on hard times on and off the pitch in recent seasons, and have had to look on in envy as traditional rivals Black Africa, Tigers and African Stars hogged the limelight.

"If Orlando Pirates don't have a management, how are they still a part of the NPL [Namibia Premier League]? They can surely not be allowed to play in organised football in this country. Who will represent them?" Goraseb quizzed.

"My other concern is with the NFA [Namibia Football Association]. While we respect their structures and their stance that they do not want football matters in courts, they are also silent, instead of intervening in this matter so that we find a quick and amicable solution."

NPL league administrator Tovey Hoebeb on Wednesday confirmed that Pirates' hierarchy is embroiled in internal turmoil, and that his office has also struggled to get an audience with the club.

"We have also been trying to get hold of them, but with no luck. I heard that they are planning a management meeting this week. We are giving them this week to sort out their problems, after which we will see the way forward," Hoebeb said.

Meanwhile, Unam have paid their players' wages, but Citizens and African Stars remain on Nafpu's radar as they still have not settled their outstanding bill will their playing personnel, Goraseb noted.

The NFA has also only partly settled what they owe the women's senior national team the Brave Gladiators, he added.

Some of the Brave Gladiators' seniors were owed up to N$9 000 in unpaid appearance fees dating back to 2012 by the NFA, who themselves claim to be low on finances.

"The NFA has so far paid N$3 000 each to the Brave Gladiators players. They have promised to pay the rest by early July, and we are now in mid July. So, we will follow that up. We are still monitoring the situation with Citizens and African Stars. Clubs who cannot pay their players should not be in the NPL. What will they run their operations with if they can't pay their employees?" asked Goraseb.

Source: The Namibian