11 Nov 2018 12:00pm
WINDHOEK, 11 NOV (NAMPA) MTCs Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs Officer, Tim Ekandjo has called on the Namibia Premier League (NPL) to consider professionalising the league as a way of improving the standard of football in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the 2018/19 MTC NPL league season in the capital this week, Ekandjo said his organisation has spent N.dollars 133 million on the league since 2003.
We started with an investment of N.dollars 560 942 in 2003 and we have grown it to N.dollars 15.4 million annually. But in the end the league still does not have professional status. We have continued investing despite the fact that the leagues status has not changed, he said.
Ekandjo said the telecommunications company is passionate and committed to sponsoring the NPL in the interest of the players without demanding anything back from the league.
I think this is the right time for us to move to professional status. This is a hint to the leadership that we move to the region of professionalism. We are also aware that we will never be able to extract the true value of the league if we do not televise our games as it creates and unlocks advertising opportunities, Ekandjo explained.
He added that using the argument that televised games will keep supporters away from the stadium no longer holds water as fans have not being showing up for matches for the past six years.
Responding to questions on how the league can be upgraded, Ekandjo said professionalising the league would not require money at this stage.
We are starting at the wrong end of the issue. We must first of all come up with a plan and that plan will dictate to us how much money we need to run a professional league, he said.
NPL Chairperson Patrick Kauta said as an organisation they decided to grow organically.
From this season you will see some professional elements like the grants being paid out monthly, secondly we will play one game per weekend, he explained.
Recently, Cabinet called for the professionalisation of sports in the country, saying many professional sport athletes are highly paid, which enables them to invest in other businesses and create employment, contributing to Namibias economy.