Namibia: Lack of Football ‘Totally Unacceptable’ – Motsepe

The president of the Confederation of African Football, Dr Patrice Motsepe said the lack of football in Namibia was totally unacceptable and expressed confidence that the game would soon return.

Speaking after the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations’ (Cosafa) general assembly on Saturday at the Hilton Hotel in Windhoek, where Artur de Almeida e Silva from Angola was elected as the new president, Motsepe said it was critical to get football started in Namibia as soon as possible.

“We had a really good meeting with the chairman of the normalisation committee, but I’m tired of these normalisation committees and I really hope that in the long term there should be no need for one. The critical issue is to get the message over of the urgency and the clear timelines in terms of making sure that football gets played in Namibia. It’s not only incomprehensible, it’s totally unacceptable that for three years there has been no domestic football in Namibia,” he said.

“In terms of our plans we really want football to be played here by August or September and that’s why I put a lot of emphasis on the need for unity, but also not to allow personal interests to subjugate the common interests of the people of Namibia who love football,” he added.

Motsepe said personality issues should not hamper the interests of the football loving public of Namibia.

“They were explaining to me that there are problems of personalities, but we should interact with all constituencies with a clear understanding to ensure that football at the domestic level in Namibia starts as quickly as possible, and that the interests of our people in relation to football surpasses the individual aspirations and interests of each one of us,” he said.

“We are going to be judged by our track record and there has to be a discernible and quantifiable improvement in Namibia and Cosafa and throughout the whole continent. That has to translate into an improvement in the quality of football in its totality – the football that’s being played on the field, the referees, the match commissioners, the stadiums, as well as the investment in the youth,” he added.

Motsepe said that CAF and Fifa would provide support to Namibia to solve its issues, although Namibians should lead the process.

“I leave here very confident that we’ve set out a clear path, under the leadership of the normalisation committee, but also you’ve got to be very careful as CAF. We have to provide support, but we have to be led by our people on the ground because they know and understand the challenges and problems, and they know even better than we do how to solve those problems to make sure that football gets played in this football-loving country,” he said.

“Veron (Mosengo-Omba, CAF secretary general) and CAF will be there to support them, and Fifa as well, to make sure that football gets played quite soon,” he added.

Artur de Almeida, who is also the president of the Angolan Football Federation, replaces Cosafa’s outgoing president Phillip Chiyangwa.

Comoros Football Federation president Said Ali Said Athouman was the only nominee for the vice-president position and was duly elected.

There were five ordinary members who were also elected, namely Timothy Shongwe (Eswatini), Walter Nyamilandu-Manda (Malawi), Faizal Sidat (Mozambique), Brenda Kunda (Zambia) and Khiba Mohoanyane (Lesotho). The Cosafa statutes state that one Ordinary Member must be a woman.

“I am delighted to have been given the trust and confidence of Cosafa nations to lead the organisation for the next four years,” Artur de Almeida said.

“I must thank the outgoing leadership under president Phillip Chiyangwa for the excellent work of the executive committee since their election in December 2016.

“I am confident the future of Cosafa is full of potential, and I am excited to hit the ground running and grow the organisation in the coming years so that it may continue to serve football in our Southern African region to the benefit of all Member Associations.”

Thirteen of the 14 Cosafa member associations were present at the elective general assembly, with only Zimbabwe, who were absent as a consequence of their current Fifa suspension, which bars them from football activities until lifted.

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