‘We are far from professionalising football’

Johannes Shifafure of Orlando Pirates (left) in action against Kulumbekwa Kalaluka of Life Fighters during a Debmarine Namibia Premiership match. Photo: Helge Schütz

Orlando Pirates FC former chief executive Niklaas Kasipili says Namibia’s football is nowhere closer to being professional than before.

Speaking to Desert Radio this week, Kasipili said: “We have been preaching the same gospel all these years. We must understand the urgency of moving somewhere.

“With Namibia having celebrated its 33rd independence anniversary, our football league is somewhere between amateur and whatever . . .”

Kasipili said club owners have been sensitised on the issue, and discussions have taken place – to no avail.

Local sport scribe Hesron Kapang said the topic of professionalising local football started in 1992, and were discussed at the signing of the Windhoek Declaration in 1991.

“If only we can get personal egos out of the way, because egos have kept football from becoming professional.

“Why did it work in neighbouring South Africa? Because the likes of Kaizer Motaung and Orlando Pirates’ Irvin Khoza were committed to working together and brought in an expert from the English premier league to help draft the processes and systems needed to have a professional league,” he said.

Kasipili added: “This attempt of trying to professionalise football has failed in the past, because everyone wants to be a lone ranger, wanting to show he is the best.”

He said the attempt to professionalise local football should be a collective one.

“Our culture and mindset on how we do things is where we have to start. Issues of sponsors, infrastructure and resources are key in professionalising the game,” Kasipili said.

Kapang said as long as the league is housed at the football association’s office, Namibia would have a professionally run football league.

“Every league in the world is an independent entity with its own offices and resources,” he said.

Kasipili said professionalisation should be supported by the commercialisation of the game.

“We have heard a lot of things over the years on professionalising the league, and of the 16 teams in the elite league probably only one or two are able to pay their bills without grants from the association sponsorship.”

He said football clubs do not have proper structures in place, nor is there a blueprint from the Namibia Football Association on the requirements for becoming a professional entity.

Apart from clubs like Ramblers, SKW, Cuca Tops and Rundu Chiefs, which have clubhouses and a physical structure to run their affairs from, most leagues in the Debmarine Premiership have little no structure, Kasipili said.

“How do you want to run a professional league if you do not have a property you can call your own? There are three top clubs which had land. One wonders what happened to that land.”

With 16 teams in the current season, there were talks to of 12 teams being in the elite league, but that remains to be seen.

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