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NFA owns up to Magic ‘mishap’

Women’s football is not an afterthought at the Namibia Football Association (NFA), says the national federation’s interim secretary general, Jochen Traut. 

Reacting to the outcry over Tura Magic Ladies’ exclusion from the upcoming CAF Women’s Champions League qualifiers due to a late application notice, Traut admitted they dropped the ball in an interview with Desert Radio this week. 

The club said news of the exclusion from the prestigious CAF Women’s Champions League competition was met “with deep sadness and a heavy heart”. 

Critics accused the NFA of not taking women’s football seriously, a notion Traut disagrees with. 

“Women’s football is very high on the agenda. Unfortunately, these mishaps happen. For me, and worldwide women’s football is key for any football association,” Traut said. 

“From our side, we were under the impression that once the leagues are finished and we know who our champions are, and if that champion is interested in participating in these championships, then we will help them to register to partake,” Traut said. 

The Magicians were crowned champions on 26 June, but effectively had the league title wrapped up two weeks prior. 

“We must remember that we started the league very late and ended very late, which was actually after the closing date of the registration for this championship,” Traut said.

“We didn’t give any indications to CAF who the champions will be and they didn’t want to consider our condonations because when we knew who the champions were, we wrote to them to tell them ‘here are the champions and they want to participate’,” Truat added. 

“We heard there were others who were also late but they got permission [from CAF to participate].”

NFA should have been proactive and made reservations with CAF, Traut said. 

“It’s easy to point fingers after the fact. Yes, in a way that is true, we could have been proactive. These are part of the lessons learnt. We have to start our leagues early enough to make sure that we have completed the leagues by latest mid-May,” he said, 

“The other thing is to make sure we communicate early enough [to CAF] about who would be the possible champions to avoid the situation we have here.”

Tura Magic executive Monica Shapwa, who doubles as the NFA Women’s Football Association chair, maintained that the national football mother body did not have women’s football at heart. 

“NFA are not advancing women’s football at the pace they are doing men’s football. This is another setback for women’s football. Until when will this be happening? Last time we had to fight tooth and nail to get the team registered,” she told New Era

Traut disagrees with that assertion, saying the women’s game was moving along at notable pace. 

“Many of those accusations are totally untrue. We have got the league going and got a sponsor, which was not there before. I think there are many more positives,” said Traut.

“Having rushed into [starting] the league has created some organisational challenges. We just need to continue and learn from the mistakes we made during the season.”

Traut assured that NFA will ensure all leagues start and conclude on time for the upcoming season. 

“Before you can make any announcements, you must make sure you have everything in place. Like, we need confirmation on some funding required to run these leagues,” he said.

“Generally, we will be hoping to start our leagues by 8 September, that is the target for now. Once everything is 100% in place, then we will make an announcement.”

The senior FA official also touched on the issue of hierarchy succession at Football House which is expected to be resolved by the end of November. 

“There will be two congresses. One will be where we will try to get the new revised statutes approved. Hopefully that will happen in late August or sometime in September, and then at the end of November we will then have the elective congress where a new leadership will be elected to take over once the NC’s [Normalisation Committee] term ends at the end of November,” Traut said.