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Namibia: Govt Still In Football Matters

Agnes Tjongarero
The committee for eminent persons (CEP) has not ceased operations, despite assurances from minister of sport, youth and national service Agnes Tjongarero to Fifa that the government would desist from interfering in the country's football matters. 

Fifa warned Tjongarero that third party involvement in the Namibia Football Association's processes would incur sanctions or a suspension. The threat was in response to the minister telling Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura that "Namibia is a sovereign nation with its own laws" and will deal with the matter "in a manner it deems fit". 

Writing to Fifa last week, Tjongarero changed her stance, saying she was "pleased to note" that Fifa was "working closely with the NFA to normalise the situation, which we believe will achieve unity in football in Namibia". "I hereby avail myself the opportunity to renew to Fifa the assurances of my highest consideration," she added.

Her letter gave the impression she would disband the CEP or disregard its recommendations. Instead, the CEP was on Monday due to meet with clubs which have indicated their willingness to join the NFA's purported new top-tier division. The CEP has already held talks with the NFA and Namibia Premier League leadership

The committee, which failed to complete its month-long mission by Friday, is tasked with getting the NFA to go back on its decision to terminate the NPL's membership. Fifa said it fully endorses the NFA, as it had followed procedure in expelling the NPL at an extraordinary congress in July. The NFA said it will not reverse its decision. 

It remains to be seen how Fifa reacts to the CEP's continuing quest for "lasting solutions" beyond the NFA's realm. Should Tjongarero ignore Fifa and implement whatever recommendations the CEP provide, Namibia will be booted into the football wilderness. 

Fifa emphasised that only the NFA will control and supervise all forms of football at national level and ensure there is only one top-tier national league in Namibia. Clubs which have snubbed the NFA's invitation intend to form their own professional league outside the realm of association football.

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