Tjongarero calls out NFA over Cosafa funding

By Michael Uugwanga

AFTER the Namibia Football Association (NFA) was recently quoted in newspapers saying it does not have money to fund the Brave Warriors’ Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup participation next month, the Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Agnes Tjongarero has described the matter as ‘sad, bad and embarrassing’ for the NFA hierarchy to tell the press before addressing the matter with the ministry.

Cosafa funding is reportedly to be in the region of N$1, 2 million.

“It is sad, bad and embarrassing to read of lack of funding in the media. It is not good at all. Maybe things have changed at the NFA with the new executive as it was not like this under the previous executives. Or maybe it is because of the FIFA money they received that they think they do not need us. We have a good relation with other federations,” said Tjongarero.

Tjongarero said this in an exclusive interview with Confidente Sport when asked if her ministry will be in the position to release funding towards the Brave Warriors’ Cosafa Cup participation that is set to take place in South Africa from July 6 to 18, in which Namibia is drawn in group C with Senegal, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Tjongarero also said that there is a lack of communication between her ministry and the current NFA executive unlike the good relation the line ministry used to enjoy with the previous regimes under Frans Mbidi and John Muinjo with Barry Rukoro, the then secretary-general of the NFA.

Asked if the ministry is going to fund the Brave Warriors’ participation at Cosafa, Tjongarero said even if they are to fund the team they cannot approach the finance ministry for funding through information they have only read in the papers.

“How will we go to the Ministry of Finance that we read in the papers that the Brave Warriors need money? I have told Ranga Haikali (NFA president) before that we should not discuss issues in the newspaper. How many times have we not communicated with them over these issues?” 

In response, NFA secretary-general Franco Cosmos told Confidente Sport that the association does not communicate directly with the ministry, but rather with the Namibia Sports Commission.

“When it comes to reporting there is a protocol to be followed. We do not communicate directly with the ministry but with NSC.  NSC does not have money to sponsor. We did not get any cent for the U-20 boys’ team that went to the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Mauritania and when the Brave Warriors went to the African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament in Cameroon,” said Cosmos.

The NFA has not been receiving annual funding since 2019 due to the Ministry of Sports’ low budget, while the Namibia Breweries Limited that funds the Brave Warriors spends N$4 million annually, which is only enough for a few international matches.

A single international match costs close to N$1 million even though the maximum number of matches for the Brave Warriors is eight matches in a year.

NSC chief administrator, Freddy Mwiya has said that there has been no funding for football since 2019 due to low budget from the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service.

“Since 2019 and 2020 there was no funding allocation,” he said.

Namibia last won the Cosafa Cup in 2015.