Namibia Premier League (NPL) Chairman, Patrick Kauta, has become the latest sport leader to criticize Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) for sponsoring foreign clubs at the expense of local sport.
This comes after the Windhoek Observer recently reported that NBL, through its Tafel Lager brand, was on the verge of signing a sponsorship agreement with Maties, a university rugby team based in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Maties will become the second South African rugby club to be sponsored by Tafel Lager following a similar arrangement last year with the Griquas that competes in the Currie Cup premier ship.
The decision was heavily criticized by sport leaders including former Chairman at Trustco United Rugby club, Desmond Coetzee, ex-Rehoboth Rugby Club Chairman, Johan Ockhuizen and executive member at the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) and Officer in Charge of Sport at the University of Namibia, Werner Jeffery.
Kauta told the Windhoek Observer that NBL has been playing hide and seek with the league secretariat since last year when it was reported that the beer maker would unveil a N$5 million sponsorship package in addition to the N$20 million from MTC and First National Bank (FNB).
In the end, only MTC and FNB came on board to sponsor the NPL on a three-year-sponsorship deal.
Kauta said NBL has spurned numerous calls from the NPL’s secretariat regarding football sponsorship.
“They (NBL) initially claimed that we approached them after their budget. Thereafter, they simply would not take our calls nor return them. I am absolutely gutted,” Kauta said.
Kauta said had NBL made a sponsorship commitment towards local football, the country’s first division, which is currently without a sponsor, could have benefited.
Last season, the three first division leagues - Southern Stream, North West First Division and North East First Division - were sponsored from the coffers of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) after they were excluded in the sponsorship agreement between the NPL, MTC and FNB.
However, NBL said it has never received any sponsorship proposal from the NPL.
“We would like to advise that NBL has not received any formal proposal from the newly elected NPL entity.
“While we have stated our willingness and consideration to have discussions with the NPL and Namibia Football Association (NFA) to determine what would be beneficial to football in its entirety in Namibia and not a particular section of football, it was never agreed that we would automatically enter into a sponsorship agreement,” NBL Manager: Global Sponsorships and Events, Ian Stevenson, told Windhoek Observer.