NPL kick-off on Friday a boost for Brave Warriors returns

The much anticipated Namibia Premier league (NPL) makes a return to our shores on Friday as African Stars and Orlando Pirates opens the 2017/18 season under the floodlights of the majestic Sam Nujoma Stadium at 20h00.
Following over a year in the doldrums, the people’s weekend bread, the Namibia Premier league (NPL) was officially launched on Wednesday morning at the NBC Studios in Northern Industrial Area in Windhoek, with Namibia’s sports chief benefactor MTC once again reaffirming their support with N$15 million for each of the coming three seasons.
Another sponsor of the league will be First National Bank (FNB) Namibia, who chips in with N$5 million to ensure the long awaited people’s game return to the stadiums from Rundu, Tsumeb, to Walvis Bay, Otjiwarongo to Gobabis and Oshakati to Windhoek as 16 NPL clubs battle it out for supremacy.
“I am pleased to announce that MTC and FNB have finalised the negotiations to sponsor the NPL for the upcoming seasons that begins this week. Namibians can once again rally behind their favourite teams and settle into an invigorating season and cheer on their soccer heroes” said Mr Jerry Elago, FNB’s Head of e-Bank.
Head of Human Capital and Corporate Affairs at MTC Tim Ekandjo urged the new NPL Leaders to be transparent and accountable for all funds. He added that in the previous reign of Johnny Doeseb all cents were accounted for and he hopes the same will happen with the new leadership of the league.
Ekandjo assured the nation that in the next three years the contribution from FNB will equal that of MTC’s. Thus will double the quality of the league.
Namibia Premier League Chairperson Patrick Kauta thanked the sponsors and added that the opportunity provided will help keep 480 youths in six towns off the streets and away from criminal activities. He also assured the sponsors that the league does not intend to use any of the money for purposes that is not budgeted for.
Kauta added “the current executive were criticised for starting the league without sponsors but that was done to enable all 16 clubs to prepare in case sponsorship was found. Doing it in any other manner would have been disingenuous and will have meant that the league will have started later. That would not have benefited anyone especially the players and the national team. It would have rebounded to no one’s benefit.
He further went on to say that to those clubs who say they had no time to prepare; everyone was informed on the 6th of September that the league will kick off on the 13th of October which makes it more than six weeks.
“Be the men in the arena, it does not help for you to stay out of the arena and point out wrongs. We have had more than 13 months to do just that. That has come to an end. Join the party, if you don’t do that the bus is leaving on the 20th gets on or stays behind”.
The kickoff of the NPL will allow the Brave Warriors technical team to tap into new players as preparations for the 2018 CAF African Nations Championships (CHAN) in Morocco continues. Responding to the launch of the 2017/18 Namibia Premier league season, Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti is glad the elite league in the country, primary players’ supplier to the national team will kick off.
“I’m happy to know that the league is launched and more so the players are happy because it is about them. It is their daily bread and of course for all Namibians that have been thirsty for league action”, Mannetti states. He adds that the league will ensure that the current crop of players do not get complacent as they will be pushed for places in the team.
“We have the players that we have been working with for the past years or so and led the team to CHAN but now the league will ensure that they don’t get too comfortable and rest on their laurels as they will know they can be replaced. They need to perform and those that are doing well in the league can be roped in at any time”.
The Brave Warriors will continue with their weekly training sessions, Mannetti says, with additional players to be brought in. “WE will reduce the amount of sessions and I plea with the coaches that we are not here to disrupt their plans but just to keep going as we have done for the past four months. We will get players in from the league, remember CHAN is for local-players that see if they can fit into our tactics and plans and we need to keep the momentum going “, Mannetti states.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will host the draw for the 2018 edition of the African Nations Championship on Friday, November 17, in Rabat, Morocco. The 16 nations, who have qualified for the tournament, will be zoned into four groups of four teams.

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