Cosafa distances itself from chaotic Nam football
By Michael Uugwanga
THE Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) of which Namibia is an affiliated member, has clearly stated that it has no intention of interfering in the current ongoing tussle between the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and the Namibia Premier League (NPL).
The NFA continues to enjoy its relationship with the regional association; however it is currently facing a daunting task to resolve football in the country that is currently in a mess that might just put its membership towards Cosafa in doubt if the matter does not get resolved soon.
The country’s top flight football league the NPL was expelled for allegedly bringing football into disrupt over its failure to follow a directive given by NFA not to relegate Orlando Pirates and Civics from the league despite the two clubs finishing in the bottom three at the end of the 2018/2019 soccer season.
As a result NFA has a plan in place to form a new league that will replace the NPL, while at the same time the NPL is also busy registering its league with the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) as an independent sports body, a situation which could see Namibia having two football leagues.
The formation of two national leagues could also bring confusion, not only to Namibian football lovers but to Cosafa as selection of national team players to represent the country at national level and junior level could put the regional tournament in a difficult situation.
Cosafa general secretary, Sue Destombes has said that the regional football mother body will not interfere in the affairs at stake, unless there is a formal request.
“Cosafa recognises the national federation of football in each of its member countries as being the governing body of football in the country. Apart from this, Cosafa has no mandate to involve itself in internal administrative matters within member associations. Cosafa will not mediate on any internal matter unless specifically requested to do so. Of course we follow and are interested in what is taking place in any of our member associations.”
Asked if NPL players would be eligible to play in any of Cosafa tournaments even if the NPL is no longer a member of the NFA, Destombes said as long that specific player holds citizenship of that country, he is therefore eligible to play provided that the player is part of the list provided by the specific association.
“The regulations of all Cosafa competitions state that a player’s eligibility is based on him/her being a citizen of that country and having a valid passport issued by the country as proof of nationality and identification and furthermore that he/she must be included in the team list submitted by the national association to Cosafa in terms of the regulations. The national association must either be a paid-up member of Cosafa and/or respond to an invitation issued by Cosafa to participate in its competitions.
“The players must meet the eligibility criteria as mentioned above and in age-category competitions the date of birth must be adhered to. When confirming their participation in the competition, they agree to abide by the regulations governing the competition as well as the statutes of Cosafa,” said Destombes.