Most people were elated when lawyer and businessman Patrick Kauta was ushered in as the new chairman of the Namibia Premier League during an elective congress held in the capital in early September last year.
Kauta, who is also chairman of glamour football club, African Stars, was expected to bring stability to the NPL ship that had been rocked by months of infighting and lack of football activities due to sponsorship challenges.
Many football followers expected the new leadership to bring in transparency that was obviously lacking from the previous administration, but less than four months into power, Kauta has flattered to deceive. Recent reports that co-sponsors MTC and FNB Namibia may pull out of their sponsorship deal with the Namibia Premier League is a major point of concern for the football loving public.
It tells the story of how unhappy the sponsors are with the NPL leadership for not fulfilling their promises made last year during sponsorship negotiations.
The NPL, after securing a sponsorship deal worth a whopping N$20 million per season, made a promise to MTC and FNB that they will get additional funding for the first division by 24 January.
Apparently, the NPL did not do their part and the public deserves to know what happened, but unfortunately Kauta has been playing hide and seek. He has been unwilling or unavailable to give interviews or express himself in any way on the subject.
I would not blame MTC and FNB if they decide to pull the plug on their sponsorship because sticking with a leadership that breaks agreements, is an insincere business partnership. After all, millions in sports sponsorship are not a donation to the wind, but a business deal where both sides have certain obligations.
The problem I have with the NPL chairman is that he hardly has time to have interviews with the media on any latest development regarding football. When he is called, he does not pick up his phone or reply to text messages or emails.
I can only conclude that he is either disdainful of the media or resistant to the idea of informing the public about the responsibilities of his office.
Kauta must know that the media plays a vital role in developing, promoting or even damaging football and that if he continues to ignore the media because of his ‘work load’ and other obligations, then he is in the wrong position.
If talking to the media is a bit of a bother to him, let him step aside and allow someone else with more time and a commitment to working with the masses who love the beautiful game, to have a chance. He is not irreplaceable – no one is. Unlike the former chairman, Johnny Doeseb, who was accessible to the media, Kauta, in my view, seems to look down from his post and deign to parcel out information as he sees fit, not when the public needs reassurance and communication.
I have called Kauta many times and he has made promises about giving interviews, particularly once the NPL attracted a sponsor, but nothing has materialised.
I suppose if football in Namibia loses its current sponsorship through breach of contract by the NPL, he will still make himself unavailable to answer to the people who would mostly be affected by this situation.
Please Kauta start working with the media to get the correct information ‘out there’ to hundreds of thousands of fans and supporters around the country. Even potential sponsors read the newspapers and can read wrong stories or inaccurate details because you are too busy to give information about issues of public concern.
If you find it very difficult to have time with the media and give information to the public, please instruct your deputy to talk to the media, but make sure you give that person up-to-date information when you do so.
The public is still not sure about whether the second round of the NPL will continue this year due to the uncertainty surrounding the league sponsorship. This is a major issue and yet, you are quiet.
Tell us Kauta, what will happen now if the sponsors decide not to continue sponsoring the league in the second round? Will Stars be given the league title?
Often the media is criticised for publishing speculative articles or rumours or for talking to ‘the wrong people’, whistleblowers or insiders rather than the main source. When we are ignored like what Kauta is doing, what do you expect? Our duty is to inform the public and the constant avoidance of giving first-hand information, gives these other solid sources a powerful role when we construct our articles. If you want more accurate reporting, then come out and give your points openly and clearly. Answer our questions, manage the debate with facts only you have.