FNB fully committed to NPL

By Michael Uugwanga

DESPITE uncertainty surrounding the future of the country’s top flight football, the Namibia Premier League (NPL), due to political infighting, one of the league sponsors, First National Bank Namibia (FNB) has set the record straight by assuring the league of its commitment.

According to FNB chief marketing officer, Tracy Eagles, the bank has no intention to part ways with the league as it wants to help local football grow.

“FNB Namibia is committed to seeing the beautiful game claim its rightful place in our communities and is in discussion with both the NFA and NPL to ensure that our support finds a meaningful home for players and spectators alike, in order to enable the growth of football countrywide,” she said.

The NPL still has a year left from its three-year sponsorship deal signed in 2018 with both FNB and MTC in a combined N$20 million deal per season for three years, with MTC splashing out N$15 million every year, while FNB gives out N$5 million for the same duration.

MTC on the other hand is also seemingly still eager to continue with the NPL, following a comment made by MTC chief human capital and corporate affairs, Tim Ekandjo at MTC’s sponsorship announcement recently.

“No, the sponsorship (towards the NFA Cup) is not to replace the NPL,” responded Ekandjo to a question on whether the N$4.5 million per annum for three years towards the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Cup would cancel out the NPL.

The NPL was suspended last October by the Namibia Football Association (NFA) for its apparent failure to follow a directive to allow relegated clubs, Orlando Pirates and Civics, back into the league due to the fact that there were no teams to replace the two clubs in the league as there was no lower division football, due to lack of funds.

NPL consists of 16 clubs with the bottom three clubs relegated to the first division of which Pirates ended in 14th place on the log the previous season, Civics in 15th place, while Young African were relegated after they were found guilty of using a foreign-player with false identification two season ago. The team was only found guilty in January last year and fined N$50 000, however Young African refused to pay the money.

The league was supposed to have taken place as from August last year and end its activities in May, however the 2019/2020 soccer season could not take place due to the ongoing Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) case in Lausanne, Switzerland, which could last longer than expected.