NPL clubs must cough up - Kahiriri

SPORTS 9 septNamibian Football Players’ Union (NAPU) Secretary General Olsen Kahiriri has insisted that Namibia Premier League (NPL) clubs will have to honour their player contracts and cough up, even if the league does not kickoff.
This comes weeks after MTC announced recently that it was ending its 14-year sponsorship relationship with the NPL, thereby threatening the employment of the country’s 450 premier league footballers and others who earn a living from football.
The company had in June given the NPL until 31 July to secure an additional sponsor, or risk losing the N$15 million MTC had earmarked for the 2016/17 season.
The deadline was later extended to August, but the league executives still failed to secure the additional sponsorship of N$9 million per annum, resulting in MTC’s withdrawal. NAPU currently represents about 208 NPL players.
Kahiriri said during an exclusive interview this week that irrespective of whether the league kicks off or not this season, the players still have to be paid. “The thing is that these clubs will still have to pay out the contracts of these players. Even if they do not have money, that will not be our problem.
 “It is our duty as an organisation, which looks after the interests of players, to ensure that all our members are well taken care of,” he said.
With the league’s future under threat, things are also looking bleak for the players’ union, but Kahiriri maintained that NAPU will continue doing its work, even if the league does not kick off this season.
“Like I said, for now our future is not a big worry, because we recently elected new people, and this shows that we are willing to continue, despite the ongoing problems in Namibian football.
“I think the problems will continue to exist, even if the league does not kick off, because some of the players signed two-year contracts, which will have to be respected.
“The clubs only have the chairperson of the league (Johnny Doeseb) to blame for their own problems and perhaps the executive committee members.
“If the league chairperson said that N$9 million was nothing, he has to be held accountable for all the things,” Kahiriri said.
NAPU re-elected Lolo Goraseb as its president for another four years, while Brave Gladiators player Mammy Kasona and Brave Warriors player Ronald Ketjijere were elected as first and second vice president, respectively.
Kahiriri, who still had one year left as SG before the new elections, was endorsed for a further four-year term, while Brian Bantam is the new NAPU treasurer. 
Meanwhile, most of the NPL clubs have confirmed that they are still in training, until they run out of resources and are forced to release players, if the league does not take place.
Clubs who confirmed this include Citizens, Orlando Pirates, Civics, Blue Waters, Young Chiefs, Tigers, Black Africa and African Stars.