Cosafa Cup legacy questioned
As the future of Namibian football and its footballers remains uncertain, due to the failure by those entrusted with running our football to secure a sponsor for the Namibia Premier League, analysts have begun to question the legacy left by the 2014 CAF African Women Championship and the 2016 Cosafa Castle Cup Tournament, which were both held in the country.
Analysts this week expressed mixed reactions over Namibia’s hosting of international and regional tournaments, questioning how these tournaments have benefited the country and local football.
Both tournaments cost the Namibian Football Association (NFA) and the government close to N$16 million in total to host.
Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (nbc) Otjiherero radio presenter, Rodman Katjaimo, believes the decision to host the tournaments was ill-advised and that the money used to host them should have been spent elsewhere.
He said the tournaments have left the NFA swimming in debt.
“I want to give you an honest opinion about the hosting of these tournaments, based on what I have observed since the tournaments were hosted.
“Yes, some people may argue that security companies and the people who sell at the stadiums made money, however, I can assure you that these tournaments have brought no improvement, as far as football is concerned.
“I am saying this because even after these tournaments were staged, the NFA has struggled to pay players and football is going down south.
“The league has collapsed and everything has just not been the same again in our football,” Katjaimo noted.
He added that very few people travelling to Namibia during the tournaments also meant that the tourism industry did not benefit either.
Toivo Katjita, a fan, who witnessed both tournaments, also questioned the rationale behind Namibia hosting regional or continental sport tournaments.
“What did we actually benefit from these tournaments?” Katjita asked. “Perhaps two or more players managed to get contracts to play for outside clubs, but has this left any legacy for our football.
“Hosting these tournaments should have been something that could have brought improvement to the clubs, but that has not happened yet.”
Well-known media personality and football critic, Isaac Hamata, however, feels that it was necessary for Namibia to host regional and continental tournaments, because of the level of expertise they brought to the country.
“It would be unfair for us to say that Namibia has not benefited from these tournaments at all,” Hamata said. “Most of the people working as volunteers and in organising the tournaments gained knowledge and experience from them.
“This is also a way to demonstrate that we are ready to host bigger tournaments than the Cosafa or the African Women Championship.
“I believe that security companies and street vendors also made some money from the tournaments,” Hamata said.
NFA President Frans Mbidi said anyone questioning the benefits of the two tournaments to Namibia is “a lost person”.
“It is shocking that some people would dare say that Namibia has not benefited from hosting these tournaments.
“The legacy is here, because we have managed to host what some of the countries in Africa have not done before.
“Things that have been going on in local football have nothing to do with the tournaments that took place here in Namibia.
“Yes, there is always room for improvement, but I can assure you that both CAF and Cosafa were impressed with the NFA,” Mbidi added.