Windhoek – The sponsors of Debmarine NFA Cup say they are yet to meet the FIFA Normalisation Committee to discuss the way forward regarding any possible future relations.
The world football governing body installed the committee to administer the affairs of the Namibia Football Association (NFA).
Debmarine Namibia, the world’s largest marine diamond miner, is the sponsor of popular NFA Cup. But the company says it is yet to meet the new sheriff at the soccer house after FIFA dissolved the old executive of the football association over untenable relations among the top brass.
Following years of infighting, FIFA decided to fire the NFA executive led by its president Frans Mbidi and installed a normalisation committee to steer the affairs of the football body until new leadership is appointed. The committee later forcefully, with police assistance, removed long-time NFA secretary-general, Barry Rukoro, from the soccer house.
In December 2016, as part of giving back to the community, Debmarine Namibia and the NFA signed a three-year sponsorship deal, which ends this year.
Stella Ipinge, Debmarine communications manager, has revealed that they are yet to meet with the new NFA’s interim leadership led by Hilda Basson-Namundjebo “to see how best the two can work together in the near future”.
Debmarine came on board with a handsome sponsorship of R14.1 million over three years ‑ an annual sponsorship of R4.7 million per season.
Previously, Bidvest Namibia sponsored the tournament also for a three-year period.
For the past two seasons, the competition started in February.
The Debmarine Cup is contested by all football clubs affiliated to the NFA including all the lower division clubs. The tournament starts with regional knockout preliminary rounds before reaching competition stage.
“We learned through the media about the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee and are yet to meet them. The Debmarine Namibia Cup sponsorship was always earmarked at directly benefiting the 220 teams and we have achieved that during 2017 and 2018, through our partnership with NFA.
“Any pronouncements pertaining to the 2019 edition and the future of the Debmarine Namibia Cup, which is governed by the sponsorship agreement with the NFA, will be made at the opportune time. We, at Debmarine Namibia, look forward to a successful year of the 2019 Debmarine Namibia Cup,” Iipinge said.
African Stars are the defending champions of the Debmarine Cup and there is still no word from the FIFA/NFA’s Normalisation Committee on when the country’s oldest club competition will start.
Franco Cosmos, the vice-chairperson of the FIFA/NFA Normalisation Committee has said they will soon hold a meeting with Debmarine officials but could not reveal the date.
“There will be a Debmarine Cup this year. First, we will have to meet with Debmarine. We will have to discuss some logistics and other minor things. Remember this is the final year with Debmarine and we would like to discuss with them the way forward,” Cosmos said.