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Battle For The Soul Of Black Africa

The battle for the soul of Black Africa Sport Club was still raging on Sunday, on the Namibia Football Association's deadline day for NPL clubs to join their proposed new top tier football league.

By then nine clubs had applied to join the NFA's top tier league, but seven others had earlier registered another Namibia Premier League with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (Bipa) on 27 July, while the position of Unam Football Club was still unclear.

The clubs that applied to join the NFA's proposed top tier league over the past few days are Citizens, Civics, Mighty Gunners, Orlando Pirates, Tigers, Young African, Julinho Sporting, Blue Waters and Black Africa, while the clubs that registered under Bipa are Young Brazilians, Life Fighters, African Stars, Tura Magic, Okahandja United, Eleven Arrows and Black Africa.

The position of Black Africa, the most successful club in the history of Namibian football, however, is unclear, with both groups claiming that it had joined them. BA's registration with the Bipa was signed by their interim chairperson Boni Paulino and member Browny Mutrifa, but on Friday, Lesley Goraseb, the chairperson of BA's Otjiwarongo branch sent a letter to NFA acting secretary general Franco Cosmos, applying for affiliation to their top tier league.

“With the powers vested in the supporters of Black Africa Sports Club, we regret the unfortunate situation that pushed and pulled Black Africa in a power struggle between BA's interim committee and its rightful owners, its supporters base… The purpose of this letter is to inform you to proceed in affiliating Black Africa with the NFA's top tier league, while BA will follow due process to convene a supporters meeting to obtain a fresh mandate once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted,” Goraseb said.

The previous day, on 20 August, a group of BA supporters, led by club legends Lolo Goraseb and Lucky Richter, had issued a press release denouncing the interim committee's 'dubious registration with the expelled Namibia Premier League, without the consent and proper consultation of the broader support base of Black Africa. It added that BA's supporters wished to affiliate with the new top tier league of the NFA.

“The deadline to register with the top tier league of the NFA is 23 August, but it is evident that the interim committee has no interest to call a BA supporters meeting, and they hope that the deadline will lapse without BA having registered with the NFA top tier league,” the statement read. "The selfish actions of the interim committee are unforgivable and tantamount to the betrayal of the trust bestowed upon them by the supporters of Black Africa. Nobody with a sober and healthy mind can justify such breach of trust.

In closure, Black Africa will be affiliated with the Top Tier League of the NFA and only the supporters have the mandate to take such a strategic decision,”it added. Yesterday, though, BA's interim committee issued a press release, dismissing claims that the club had applied for affiliation with the NFA and denouncing the supporters group. The press release was signed by Mutrifa, now in the position of chairperson, as well as Lakka Goagoseb (vice chairperson), Boni Paulino (now an ordinary member), Rebekka Goagoses and Doris Lamperth.

“Black Africa Sports Club has taken note of the recent shenanigans of Cassius Moetie, Lolo Goraseb, Lucky Richter and a few more persons who claim to speak on behalf of Black Africa supporters. The trio also has the audacity to claim that they have registered the club with the non-existent NFA league. Since when do supporters register a club,” it asked, adding: "Black Africa Sports Club distances itself from these opportunists, who speak mainly on behalf of themselves. These characters are not serving in any structure of the club, let alone the Black Africa Supporters Club."

It said that the NFA's proposed top tier league would have no credibility without a club like Black Africa, while it also denounced Goraseb's application for affiliation."The NFA acting secretary general, in his desperation, went on national TV news and claimed that BA had applied for membership, based on a letter written by an unknown individual who claims to be the chairperson of the BA Otjiwarongo supporters branch. Does this mean that the acting SG will even accept an application from a village branch chairperson,” it asked.

Cosmos, on Sunday, however, refuted these claims. “Black Africa doesn't have an owner now so it's a community team. There has been a leadership vacuum since Ranga (Haikali) left, so anyone can write a letter to us to affiliate, but they have to comply with our constitution before they will be accepted,” he said. 

“Black Africa doesn't even have a constitution, which is one of the requirements to join the top tier league, and where did they get the mandate to register with Bipa,” he asked. “For that matter, who mandated African Stars to register, why are these things not being questioned,” he added.

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