NFA and players' union clash continues

22 Jun 2016 17:20pm
By Maqonda Ndlovu
WINDHOEK, 22 JUN (NAMPA) – The continuous push and pull between the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and Namibia Football Players’ Union (Nafpu) looks likely to continue while the players welfare is being ignored.
Some Namibia Premier League clubs have failed to pay players their salaries for over three months, while the national women’s football team players also claim they have not been fully paid for previous matches played.
NFA Secretary-General (SG) Barry Rukoro said the association had granted Nafpu provisional recognition sometime in 2010 on condition that it fulfils certain requirements; one being that a proper election is held. This election would see the union’s leadership constitute legally elected members, and was to be held in six months.
He told Nampa recently that the election has not taken place to date, which is now a little over five years.
“Why it did not take place.... that communication as NFA we do not have. Another example is that we requested all our members to have their constitutions in line with the mother body, in this case the NFA, but the players’ union has not done that.
“These are some of the issues we have with them. Off course some of the activities were overtaken by others because since then, the players union became a member of the NFA,” Rukoro said.
He went on to reveal that after that the union decided to disassociate itself with the NFA.
On their part, Nafpu SG Olsen Kahiriri and President Sylvester Lolo Goraseb said they indeed held an elective congress in 2011, which led to them being fully recognised by the NFA in 2012.
“We were then recognised as the sole bargaining body of all football players in Namibia under the jurisdiction of the NFA. We also gave them all the documents they requested,” said Kahiriri.
He added that at the moment the relationship between NFA and Nafpu is not good, not only for the two bodies but the players and other stakeholders as well.
“We have resigned from being a member of NFA, but we are waiting for NFA to get back to us. We cannot keep quiet when players’ rights are being infringed; we will continue engaging our fellow comrades at Soccer House, including the Namibia Premier League which refuses to recognise us,” Kahiriri stated.
On the union’s resignation from the NFA, Rukoro said the executive or congress will decide whether to accept (resignation) it or not.
“It’s not my decision to make,” he said.
He said there are structures to be followed when such issues arise. “When the players' union approached us, they wrote a letter requesting to be the sole bargaining agent for all football players under the jurisdiction of the NFA. This letter was forwarded to the executive committee, who referred the matter to a congress which then accepted and ratified Nafpu as part of the football family in Namibia.”
The same procedure is followed when one decides to terminate one's membership, said Rukoro.
Goraseb disputed this saying, the NFA Constitution clearly states that one can terminate one’s membership with NFA by giving a six-month notice before a football season ends, which they did.
“Also you can withdraw membership if you do not owe NFA any subscription fees, and we do not owe them,” he explained.
Rukoro went on to say the two bodies do not need to “air their dirty laundry in public” as this will give the wrong impression to potential sponsors. He acknowledged that sometimes players are not paid at all, or paid late hence the need to find solutions in-house rather than fight in public.
The union on the other hand said the NFA and all stakeholders must change the way they are doing things right now for the betterment of the sport.