Tigers Football Club’s benefactor, Vaino Nghipondoka, has dismissed rumours that he has withdrawn from the Shandumbala based outfit after only a year in charge.
Sources at the Namibia Football Association (NFA) recently claimed that Nghipondoka, who is a renowned businessman, was no longer with the club due to financial constraints after Government stopped awarding tenders last year.
Nghipondoka, however, dismissed the allegations as the work of his political enemies, adding that this was not the first time that he had heard of rumours that he had dumped the reigning Namibia Premier League (NPL) champions.
The businessman, who owns Profile Investments Holdings and Babyface Civils, was ushered in as Tigers chairman in August last year, in a move that was expected to transform the club into a viable and commercially sustainable entity.
Few can deny that Nghipondoka’s presence at Tigers played a crucial in helping the club to clinch its first league title since 1985
“There are people out there who are jealous of Tigers. You find people telling players that why go to Tigers if you know that Vaino is leaving any time. That is not true, I am here to make Tigers a big brand in the country,” Nghipondoka said, adding that the reason he decided to invest his fortune in football was not to make a financial return, but to give back to society.
Nghipondoka, who said he has invested more than N$3 million in Tigers since 2015, said there is no money in Namibian football.
“As an owner, you do not make a profit. We won the league title last season and all we got was N$1 million, which went to the club and not to me.”
He called on other businesspeople to emulate his efforts by investing more in football.
“Black Africa has Ranga Haikali. It will be good if other clubs do the same so that we make football very big,” Nghipondoka said.
Asked what his views were regarding the delays in starting the NPL due to sponsorship challenges and the decision by Tigers not to take part in the Debmarine Namibia cup, Nghipondoka said he is not involved with the day-to-day running of the football club.
“You need to ask those at the club on a full-time basis on the matter regarding the delay of the league and the cup,” he said.
Tigers, which was established in 1927, has won the NFA Cup (now known as Debmarine Namibia Cup), on three occasions in 1995, 1996 and 2015. Only Chief Santos and African Stars, with four victories each, have recorded more success in this cup.
This season, Tigers and other five premier league clubs - Black Africa, Blue Waters, African Stars, Chief Santos and Orlando Pirates - boycotted the cup competition due to league inaction.
They argued that the NPL should start first before they commit themselves to play in the Debmarine Namibia Cup.