Controversy hits Ali Akan, StarsBy: SHEEFENI NIKODEMUS
ALI Akan could be on his way out of African Stars before the season is out, after the side’s supporters’ club director Sieggie Veii-Mujoro filed a case of crimen injuria against the coach following a public spat on Friday night.
The two clashed in the stands of the Sam Nujoma Stadium at the end of closest league rivals Black Africa’s surprise 1-0 defeat to Tura Magic, reigniting Stars’ title hopes.
Veii-Mujoro opened a case against Akan after the profanity-filled verbal altercation, which almost turned physical.
Additionally, Veii-Mujoro, whose club portfolio Akan claims to be oblivious to, plans to submit a complaint with the club regarding the incident.
Akan also had to be restrained and escorted out of the stadium after he clashed with BA supporters afterwards.
“Apart from assaulting me, he’s bringing the club’s name into disrepute. The club should take action. I will report the matter to the chairman,” Veii-Mujoro told The Namibian Sport.
However, Akan, while not denying his violent outburst, claims Veii-Mujoro is not the victim.
The Turkish-born coach, who acquired Namibian citizenship in 2011, alleges that Veii-Mujoro had made racist and offensive remarks towards him.
“I’m sorry that this s**t happened in front of soccer-loving supporters,” Akan said. “He started swearing at me first. He told me to f***k off. He told me I’m a foreigner and this country belongs to him.”
Club chairman Sydney Martin, who is set to meet with Akan today, said he had not received an official report on the matter.
“I’ve heard rumours that there was an altercation involving the coach but I still have to do some investigation. I cannot comment on something that I don’t know about,” Martin said.
The dispute is said to have been sparked by Veii-Mujoro allegedly failing to honour a meeting with Akan last Thursday where the two were to address their differences.
Akan approached Veii-Mujoro at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Friday, at which point a verbal brawl ensued.
Akan further alleges that Veii-Mujoro and a popular sport presenter from the Otjiherero radio service are plotting his and the player’s downfall by instigating the club’s supporters to turn against them.
“After Wednesday’s game against Ramblers he was talking bad about me and the team to supporters. If he is a director in the club, I don’t understand why he would be breaking down the team like this. This is demoralising to the team,” he said.
“At the games there are always supporters swearing at me and the players even when we are winning. I’m human. The players are human. We all are sick and tired of these things.”
But Veii-Mujoro countered, saying Akan is notorious for his rowdy behaviour.
“It is typical Ali Akan. It is in his nature to just swear at people. But he cannot be allowed to get away with it,” Veii-Mujoro said. “He was drunk. And was challenging me to fight him. He said I’m not man enough if I don’t fight him. I could have retaliated but I chose not to.”
Akan also claimed that there were those in the Stars hierarchy who feel he is defacing the club’s image after recruiting many non-Otjiherero-speaking players, especially those of Damara-Nama descent such as regulars Johannes Seibeb, Meraai Swartbooi, Bradley Wermann, Riaan Cloete and Rudi Louw.
He added that it is no secret that affiliation to a club in Namibia is still strongly based on ethnic and racial backgrounds.
“For eighteen years I have worked in Namibian football and this is still problem. I don’t want to mention names but there are people who are racist in the club. They say apparently I am destroying the culture of the team because I have too many Damara players,” Akan said, who came to Namibia as a political refugee, having fled Germany because of the alleged repression of the Kurdish minority which he was a part of.
“All my life I have fought against racists and racism. If this is a Herero team then I don’t want to be coach.”
However, Martin said African Stars is a multifaceted club.
“This is not a Herero club. Those who say so do not know the history of the club. We have had players of different backgrounds since the club was established in the 1950s. I don’t know who those people are that are bringing up the tribal card,” Martin said.
Akan said he was weighing up his future at the club.
“I want to stay until the end of the season but the morale is not good. There are people trying very hard to bring the team down. We only lost one game in 21 matches this season. We are fighting for the League, we already won one Cup and we are still challenging for another one. So please tell me what is their problem?”