NFA receives FIFA windfall
The financially struggling Namibia Football Association (NFA) is set to receive a US$1,2 million windfall from world football governing body, FIFA, at the beginning of next month, association President Frans Mbidi has revealed.
The money, which has been increased from the previous US$400,000, forms part of the yearly grants that FIFA gives to football associations around the world.
An elated Mbidi told the Windhoek Observer this week that they had received notification that the funds will be transferred within the next three weeks, after the NFA’s request for the funds was approved by the football governing body.
“I can confirm now that the money is on its way from FIFA,” Mbidi said in an exclusive interview.
“We are happy that the FIFA president is keeping his promise by increasing the grants from US$400,000 to US$1,2 million for African countries.”
Mbidi said the NFA will use the money “wisely” so that it can last for another year.
He said the money will be spent on referees, coaches and the development of young players, while the rest of the funds will be used for the national teams.
The grant from FIFA comes as a relief to the NFA, which has been struggling to pay its employees and national football players on time due to lack of funds.
Mbidi, however, made it clear that the NFA is not allowed to share the funds with the equally bankrupt Namibia Premier League.
“FIFA will never allow us to share that money with the Namibia Premier League even if we would have wanted to do so.
“That money comes with clear instructions that it is only for the football association,” Mbidi noted.
FIFA has promised to do independent financial audits of “forward funds” for each association and to put in place enhanced development regulations, including greater powers of oversight and tougher compliance measures.
Meanwhile, FIFA President Giovanni Infantino’s visit to Namibia has been put on hold until early next year.
This comes after Mbidi announced earlier in the year that he had invited the then newly elected FIFA president to Namibia.
The NFA president said this week that Infantino is now only expected to arrive in the country next year, in time for the opening of the NFA Technical Centre.
“We wanted him to come and see how Namibia is, but that will not be possible this year.
“We will, however, invite him for the opening of the NFA Technical Centre next year.
“We don’t have an official date set yet, but we will make sure that it is as early as possible,” Mbidi said.
The NFA president, who said he has already established a good working relationship with the FIFA president, remarked that it is important to keep Infantino close.
Mbidi said that the FIFA president has already shown that he will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Sepp Blatter, as far as supporting African football is concerned.
This after Infantino repeated his election pledge in July that Africa will get an additional two World Cup finals places if the tournament expands to 40 teams from 2026.
Infantino was elected as FIFA president in March replacing Blatter, who had held the position for 18 years, before resigning amidst numerous allegations of corruption.
Infantino received 115 out of the 207 eligible votes – a decisive majority over Sheikh Salman of Bahrain’s 88 votes.