We play charity football, says First Division bossBy: SHEEFENI NIKODEMUS
CLUB football outside the Namibia Premier League is for charity, according to Northern Stream First Division chairman Mpasi Haingura.
Haingura said clubs that ply their trade in the first and second divisions have been perennially marginalised and play for passion rather than reward.
These already financially challenged teams, he said, spend significantly more to keep competing in their respective leagues than the prize money collected by the eventual winner.
Haingura made the point when reacting to a query about outstanding start-up capital for the NSFD.
“We play charity football. The money that these teams spend cannot be compared to what they get if they win the league,” Haingura told The Namibian Sport.
“The clubs are in a very difficult situation. It is not easy but they have to find a way to get to their games of they will forfeit their points.”
Only N$750 000 of MTC’s total football sponsorship of N$10,5 million was allocated to the first division streams last season.
While nine of the 12 top-flight clubs – many of whom also have auxiliary endorsements - each received over N$50 000 in monthly grants from MTC last season, his division’s teams each got N$15 000 for the entire first round.
This amount is expected to cover transport and accommodation costs and other basic expenses incurred by the clubs.
Mpasi said he could not fathom why poor lower-division clubs are expected to fend for themselves but better-resourced NPL sides were being spoon-fed.
He feels the second- and third-tier divisions ought to receive more support.
“That money they got in the first round was only enough for two weekends. Most clubs had to travel in uncomfortable transport and sleep in uncomfortable accommodation,” he said.
“The majority of the players in the first and second division don’t have jobs. I wish for corporate businesses to come on board so that so that they can help create employment for these players.”
The Namibia Football Association – which until 2010 was the sole sponsor of the first division – had promised to give N$10 000 to each club for the second round of the just concluded campaign, but the clubs have not received a cent.
NFA secretary general Barry Rukoro said they intend to honour their commitment to the first division but that they too were awaiting grants from Fifa and other financiers.
He could however not say when exactly the teams will receive their dues.
“The NFA does not sell bread. We will disperse the money when we receive money,” Rukoro said.
The NFA will this weekend hold playoffs at Tsumeb to determine who joins the NSFD next season.
The matches will be played in two groups at the Oscar Norich Stadium and eight teams will vie for two qualifying spots.
Young Tops will represent Ohangwena region, King Fischer will represent Caprivi and Omusati will have Epupa Stars in the mix.
Kunene region will be represented by their second division winners, Sport Klub Outjo, while Bingo and Young Chiefs compete for the Kavango and Oshana regions respectively.
African Lions, who won the Otjozondjupa Second Division, also take their place at the playoffs with the host region Oshikoto having Benfica to carry their hopes.
The matches will start on Saturday at 08h00 and the group winners will be promoted to the NSFD.