WINDHOEK, 11 APR – Relations between the Namibia Football Association (NFA) and Namibia Football Players Union (Nafpu) are warming up following a turbulent two years which has squabbles reaching unprecedented levels.
This was confirmed by NFA Secretary-General Barry Rukoro at a media conference in Windhoek on Tuesday, when it was announced that Brave Gladiators defender and vice-captain, Stacey Naris had been appointed to the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro) African Division Board.
“The history between the two institutions and the history between the two secretary generals is well known. But when those two institutions are well served, our egos do not matter,” Rukoro explained.
The NFA and Nafpu have been at each other’s throats for the past three years, with the two organisations going to the extent of taking each other to the labour court on issues of players’ rights.
Rukoro said the previous relations put the development of the game at risk, saying they needed to adapt to avoid being left behind.
He added that in the last couple of months, the two institutions mutually started moving towards each other as witnessed by the decreased levels of aggression.
“The discussion of issues is now done with an open mind with no preconceptions and this makes us believe that from now on, we will improve this relationship to benefit the game and in particular, the players,” he said.
Nafpu SG Olsen Kahiriri echoed Rukoro’s assessment, saying the union has always wanted to sit at the same table as the NFA and Namibia Premier League.
“We are now engaging experts who will help us sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will see us work in harmony. This MoU should be in line with the one signed by the International Federation of Football Associations and International Federation of Professional Footballers,” he said.
Initially, the NFA officially recognised Nafpu in 2012 as the exclusive bargaining agent for footballers under the association’s jurisdiction and in 2014, the union was granted membership status on the NFA’s executive committee.
But in 2016, Nafpu resigned as a member of the NFA to become an independent union.
The football association refused to recognise Nafpu, saying by resigning as NFA member, the union had forfeited its bargaining powers.