Women eyeing top NFA positions
• BY MICHAEL UUGWANGA
ALTHOUGH the Namibia Football Association (NFA) has long been a man’s world, women now make up a sizeable proportion of football players and fans, and are ready to shatter this set up as they seek to be part of the country’s football administration.
The NFA was scheduled to hold its extraordinary congress in Windhoek this Saturday before it was put on hold until further notice, with one of the hot topics expected to be discussed being the future of the current executive members after the chairperson of the Hardap region football league, Michael Sidute last month called for a congress, with the aim of dissolving the entire NFA leadership.
If Sidute’s call turns out successful, this will mean that another congress would have to take place to elect a new leadership. For one to be eligible to contest for any top NFA position, one needs to be a member of a football club; of a league of the NFA and should have served in an executive position at a regional structure for at least four years.
Only one woman, Hilda Basson-Namundjebo has tasted the NFA presidency hot seat when she was appointed the chairperson of the FIFA/NFA normalisation committee between 2019 and February 2020.
This week Confidente Sport took the opportunity to ask some renowned women in football on whether they have any ambition of holding top NFA positions.
Diina Shituula the current women U-17 and super league committee chairperson said she would be willing to become NFA’s secretary general.
“For me … to become the future secretary general of the NFA and not the president, because that is where the work of the association lies at,” said Shituula who also serves as national grassroots football coordinator.
Merriam Shiinda who is the chairperson for Oshana women football league said she is eyeing the NFA presidency post, but noted that the constitution of the association was drafted to serve men.
“The aim of the constitution is to chuck out women. For example you see Jacqueline (Shipanga) acting as the technical director instead of appointing her permanently. It is a matter of ego from men. Women continue to put Namibia on the map. I really want to become the NFA president one day,” she said.
Julien Garises, who has over the years been advocating for equal treatment for both men and women footballers, said she has ambition of becoming the association’s president.
“One has always ambition to become a president. However the constitution in place makes it difficult. Imagine one has to become an executive member for four years, either at the referee department or at regional structures.
“The only chance women can get that opportunity is if we have more women holding positions at regional level, for example if a woman is the chairperson then another woman should hold another position in the same league or body.”
Salome Iyambo, who is one of the few qualified FIFA instructors in the country, has said that once such an opportunity arises for women to be given a fair chance, she will not shy from contesting for the presidency position.
“If such an opportunity arises I will not shy away from it. I can handle any pressure. My academic qualifications and football qualifications speak for themselves. I am doing administration for sport since 2018 at Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) and I have a Confederation of African Football (CAF) C coaching licence and I am also a FIFA instructor.
“If the NFA statutes are correctly presented such as the inclusivity of women, then why not. I own a club (Okahandja Beauties) which has won four national championships and about eight league cups. I have played for the Brave Gladiators from 2005 until 2012,” said Iyambo.
However other notable female personalities in football have decided to stay away from such ambitions.
Current NFA acting technical director Jacqueline Shipanga who has the potential to become a future NFA president completely ruled herself out, while Jacky Gertze, the women’s desk coordinator at the NFA is out too.
Former NFA executive member, Alma Mupupua said that she is no longer interested in vying for any position within the NFA due to the continuous fights within the association.
“There is just too much politics in football that is why I lost interest. There are other women capable of becoming president such as Shipanga (Jacqueline) or Gertze (Jacky). I am very happy with my academy (Alma football academy) here in Oshikuku,” said Mupupua who was an executive member of the NFA from 2014 until 2018.
Monica Shapwa who is seen as a future NFA president said that it is too early for her to think of such a position, as she still has a long way to fulfill her objectives and goals for women football.
Shapwa has however called on the nation to rally behind the current president Ranga Haikali who was suspended by the NFA exco.
“Yes, I do have ambition to become the NFA president once I have fulfilled my objectives and goals for women football to be played in all 14 regions. Yes, we are ready (women for top positions) and we have been ready for a long time,” she said