I’ve already won – Haikali

Namibia Football Association (NFA) presidential candidate Ranga Haikali dropped a bombshell yesterday by saying he has already won the post, as the majority of voting delegates support him.

Haikali was responding to a query about when his manifesto launch will take place. This was after Johnny ‘JJD’ Doeseb launched his manifesto yesterday in the capital, drawing first blood in the NFA presidential race.

Haikali’s response was that he will not share a manifesto with the media or public, as he is not working alone on his campaign. He claimed he is part of a group consisting of most of the 22 delegates who will be at the congress. “We are working as a team called the ‘Progressive Forces’ who aim to take the NFA as a whole. Of the 22 members, the majority form part of these forces and I can confidently say that we have already won as I already have a two-thirds majority,” Haikali said boldly. During his manifesto launch, Doeseb promised to reform football through rebranding and repositioning for the sport to become consistent, exciting and trustworthy for locals. The businessman also promised to include the troubled Namibia Premier League (NPL) in the NFA hierarchy. He emphasised that the NPL will be an NFA standalone competition, so that the country’s football governing body oversees and ensures funding for football at all levels. The move is set to enable the NPL chairperson to automatically become the third NFA vice-president.

“I will reform the constitution of the NFA executive by ensuring that all 14 regional football associations, women, referee and coaches associations as well as players’ unions and all 16 NPL member club chairpersons form part of the exco,” Doeseb said.

“Football belongs to the people; it’s not an elite club, and because of that, I want everyone to be involved,” he said.

Doeseb believes that being inclusive will drive the NFA away from the old system where some of the regions were not represented at NFA exco level.

In his five-pillar manifesto, Doeseb proposed a national football indaba to discuss pertinent football matters, including the funding challenge. This indaba will give an opportunity for members of the football fraternity to contribute to the restructuring of the sport in the country. He also vowed to increase participation of all age groups and genders in grassroots football, which he said remains the cornerstone of development. “I will never discriminate when it comes to men and women, but will increase expertise in elite and grassroots football development and also expand infrastructure and the distribution of football material. “I will improve the standard of refereeing around the country by investing in referee training and development and creating opportunities to expose our referees to better their standards,” he said. Doeseb added he will introduce courses for executive members and regional leadership to enhance their skills. The NPL has still not introduced club licencing years after Doeseb made the proposal when he was the chairman of the league.

If elected, he will prioritise a club licencing system within the leagues. This is a set-up he believes will promote the level of professionalism. “I want to restore the credibility and image of the NFA with a real change in leadership and take the necessary steps to create a new and modern NFA worthy of the public’s trust.

“I will involve leading and respected football figures in advising the decision-makers of Namibian football with the creation of an NFA football council.” Doeseb said the role of the council will be to advise the NFA president and exco on strategic football matters, such as the yearly calendar, competition formats, laws of the game and strategic football development. He assured the public that Football House will not tolerate any tribalism if he is elected.

In the past, the NFA has been accused of favouring individuals from a certain tribe, while neglecting others.

“This will not be a Damara, Owambo, Nama or Herero house, but will include each and every Namibian. People will be employed because of merit and qualifications.” Doeseb emphasised that there is an urgent need to remove the blockages to the progress of young footballers, both male and female. “This is something that we have to look at again because we have to bridge the gap between women and men’s football. People must be treated equally and therefore funding must be allocated equally.” It has been alleged that Doeseb has plans to reappoint former NFA secretary-general Barry Rukoro. He, however, rebuffed this allegation, saying there is no place for Rukoro at Football House. “We have to give praise to Barry Rukoro for what he has done during his time at Football House. “I must say that I have not considered bringing him back nor do I have the intention to do so when I become president.”

The two other NFA presidential candidates Izak Fredricks and Mabos Vries have not made any statements and are yet to launch their manifestos. They and Haikali did not turn up for a debate on NBC’S Soccer Pitch show yesterday.

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa and Limba Mupetami

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa and Limba Mupetami