Ekandjo takes on Martin after legal action threat

10 Jul 2014 20:50pm
WINDHOEK, 10 JUL (NAMPA) - Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC)’s Tim Ekandjo has has lashed out at African Stars Football Club chairperson Sydney Martin after Martin said he will fight the league sponsor if they host the Namibia Premier League (NPL) awards.
Local English daily the Namibian on Thursday reported that African Stars intends to go ahead with their High Court application to have the entire disputed match against Orlando Pirates replayed.
Martin is of the opinion that hosting the awards would constitute a violation of the running legal process, as African Stars applied to the High Court to have the end of the 2013/14 season delayed until their case is heard.
The match was abandoned after the lights at the Sam Nujoma Stadium went out on 16 April this year.
At the time, there were only eight minutes of play left on the clock, with Pirates leading by 2-0. The eight minutes was replayed on 02 July this year, which resulted in Pirates winning the game 2-0.
The awards, which were initially set to take place on 20 June, were postponed as African Stars disputed the matter with the NPL.
NPL Chairperson Johnny Doëseb earlier this week however declared the season complete after the replay between Stars and Pirates on 02 July, meaning the NPL can go ahead with the hosting of the awards.
The Namibian reported that the African Stars chairperson said MTC will not be spared the legal repercussions that may befall the NPL due to their involvement in the awards.
In a statement availed to Nampa on Thursday by MTC, the company’s Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs Officer, Tim Ekandjo said he is disappointed in the short-sightedness of the club’s management, and in the fact that a club which receives over N.dollars 800 000 from MTC per year to run its affairs “has the audacity to threaten the very hand that feeds them through the media instead of discussing this with MTC”.
“MTC’s grant money to African Stars pays their players’ salaries, pays for their club’s running expenses and keeps them going, and yet they show us no courtesy.
We invest over N.dollars 14 million in the MTC Namibia Premier League per year and for one of their members to threaten us in this manner, and challenging us publicly is despicable, but a challenge that we gladly accept,” said Ekandjo.
He further added that MTC is not threatened by Martin and if his intention is to challenge them, they will assure him that African Stars “will be the biggest losers at the end of the day”.
“Should the football authorities continue to allow such threats on their principal football sponsor, football by extension might just be the biggest loser because we can definitely take our investment elsewhere where we are appreciated and respected,” he said.
He further stated that MTC have made it clear that the date of the MTC NPL Awards were set by the NPL and that MTC was merely consulted and informed, and that MTC does not meddle in the affairs of football.
“Having given that explanation, for Stars to still threaten us instead of taking up their grievances with the league is uncalled for,” he said.
Ekandjo stated that, as sponsor they have closely followed the developments surrounding the NPL versus African Stars saga and have not, and will not interfere, because they are both stakeholders, but when one stakeholder decides to show arrogance and threaten them in such a way simply because they can, surely MTC can do the same.
“I wish to remind Mr Martin that our investments in football and in his club African Stars are not bound by the legal proceedings he refers too, but by our desire to see football grow in the country,” said Ekandjo.
The statement also noted that the awards will take place on 18 July 2014 and MTC will assist with the organising of the awards.
“If Mr Martin has a problem with that he can take it up with the NPL structures where African Stars is represented, and not with MTC.
Should MTC ever receive court papers where MTC is cited as a party, African Stars and the NPL would unfortunately have to bear the consequences and we are not making empty promises,” Ekandjo said.