League set to be delayed

League set to be delayed

THERE is uncertainty about the actual kick-off date of the 2007/2008 Namibia Premier League, as football authorities are still battling to resolve an outstanding disciplinary case.

The case involves Northern Stream First Division side Mighty Gunners, who were on the brink of being promoted to the premiership, only for the Namibia Football Association (NFA) to learn that the coach, Dawid Snewe, was involved in an alleged bribery scandal. Snewe stands accused of bribing players of Ben?ca with cash to throw a first-division match, to give Mighty Gunners an easy passage into the premiership.He has expressed his innocence in the matter thus far.The case has remained inconclusive since the end of the league in May, but the absence of Snewe, who was in Brazil for over three weeks on a coaching course, also hampered its progress.The Namibian Sport tried to ?nd out the actual date for the league kickoff, only to be informed by one of the of?cials at Soccer House that it is due “sometime at the beginning of September”.NPL chairman Peter van Wyk recently said on a local television station that the league is set for September 1, but a source at Soccer House said that was unlikely.According to the source, there will be no date for the resumption of the league before the Mighty Gunners case has been resolved and an activity plan for the association has been put in place.The NFA each season draws up an activity plan which indicates the dates for premiership matches, taking into account all the international ?xtures of the Brave Warriors and women’s football as well as junior national teams.It also takes into account major local tournament such as The Namibian Newspaper Cup, youth development tournaments and international friendlies according to the Fifa calendar.The NFA is set to meet tomorrow to discuss the Mighty Gunners issue, but even if a decision can be reached, the NFA still has to look at the availability of venues across the country before drawing up their activity plan.The availability of venues has been a headache for the association as some are booked well in advance for other activities, while some pitches are not in good condition.For the new season, the NFA has resolved that both the Northern and Southern Stream First Divisions will be incorporated into the NPL, meaning that they will fall under that of?ce, unlike in the past where they had to report to the NFA itself.The drawing up of ?xtures and the total coordination of the league in terms of assigning match officials and arranging venues for the two ?rst divisions will also be done by the NPL, despite the shortage of staff at that of?ce.An official who requested anonymity told The Namibian Sport that the NPL was currently operating on a skeleton staff and the amount of work required to run the two first divisions and the premiership will be immense.It is not known if more staff will be employed at the cash-strapped association, which in the past struggled to pay its telephone accounts.Last season possibly saw the longest delay in the start of the league, when play only resumed late in the year.The biggest problems which led to the delay last season were unresolved disciplinary cases.Records also show that the past three seasons saw a delay in the kickoff of the league, which ultimately had a negative impact on the ?nancial situation of clubs, which had their players attending training sessions without knowing when the league would start.Clubs have in the past complained that they spent thousands of dollars on keeping the players in shape during the traditional pre-season training, while not knowing when they would be in action.The other burning issue that the NFA has to deal with is the appointment of a new chief executive of?cer, who is to be announced later this month.At this stage no interviews have been conducted, with the main reason being the recent NFA awards ceremony and the Brave Warriors matches in the Cosafa Castle Cup.Snewe stands accused of bribing players of Ben?ca with cash to throw a first-division match, to give Mighty Gunners an easy passage into the premiership.He has expressed his innocence in the matter thus far.The case has remained inconclusive since the end of the league in May, but the absence of Snewe, who was in Brazil for over three weeks on a coaching course, also hampered its progress.The Namibian Sport tried to ?nd out the actual date for the league kickoff, only to be informed by one of the of?cials at Soccer House that it is due “sometime at the beginning of September”.NPL chairman Peter van Wyk recently said on a local television station that the league is set for September 1, but a source at Soccer House said that was unlikely.According to the source, there will be no date for the resumption of the league before the Mighty Gunners case has been resolved and an activity plan for the association has been put in place.The NFA each season draws up an activity plan which indicates the dates for premiership matches, taking into account all the international ?xtures of the Brave Warriors and women’s football as well as junior national teams.It also takes into account major local tournament such as The Namibian Newspaper Cup, youth development tournaments and international friendlies according to the Fifa calendar.The NFA is set to meet tomorrow to discuss the Mighty Gunners issue, but even if a decision can be reached, the NFA still has to look at the availability of venues across the country before drawing up their activity plan.The availability of venues has been a headache for the association as some are booked well in advance for other activities, while some pitches are not in good condition.For the new season, the NFA has resolved that both the Northern and Southern Stream First Divisions will be incorporated into the NPL, meaning that they will fall under that of?ce, unlike in the past where they had to report to the NFA itself.The drawing up of ?xtures and the total coordination of the league in terms of assigning match officials and arranging venues for the two ?rst divisions will also be done by the NPL, despite the shortage of staff at that of?ce.An official who requested anonymity told The Namibian Sport that the NPL was currently operating on a skeleton staff and the amount of work required to run the two first divisions and the premiership will be immense.It is not known if more staff will be employed at the cash-strapped association, which in the past struggled to pay its telephone accounts.Last season possibly saw the longest delay in the start of the league, when play only resumed late in the year.The biggest problems which led to the delay last season were unresolved disciplinary cases.Records also show that the past three seasons saw a delay in the kickoff of the league, which ultimately had a negative impact on the ?nancial situation of clubs, which had their players attending training sessions without knowing when the league would start.Clubs have in the past complained that they spent thousands of dollars on keeping the players in shape during the traditional pre-season training, while not knowing when they would be in action.The other burning issue that the NFA has to deal with is the appointment of a new chief executive of?cer, who is to be announced later this month.At this stage no interviews have been conducted, with the main reason being the recent NFA awards ceremony and the Brave Warriors matches in the Cosafa Castle Cup.

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