Robert Shimooshili began his tenure as Namibia Football Association (NFA) president by asking his rival, Patrick Kauta, and his team to join him for a group picture to demonstrate unity.
That will be the overriding theme of his time at the helm of the beleaguered national football federation, said Shimooshili after claiming a narrow victory during the NFA’s 32nd ordinary congress in Windhoek on Friday.
Shimooshili garnered 19 votes to Kauta’s 15 to win the remodelled elections, which required that each presidential candidate run as the head of a slate.
Shimooshili’s votes came from //Kharas, Hardap, Otjozondjupa, Kunene, Omusati, Zambezi, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Kavango East,
Kavango West, North East (two votes), Southern Stream (two votes), North West, Namibia Premier Football League (three votes) and Futsal.
Meanwhile, Omaheke, Khomas, Erongo, North West, Oshana, Namibia Premier Football League (three votes), Women’s Football Association, and Women’s Super League (six votes) backed Kauta.
“The delegates have spoken. I received two symbols from Fifa. One belongs to the group that will be in office for four years. The second one is talking about unity and how football unites the world.
“This one is in line with my manifesto,” Shimooshili said in his acceptance speech.
“My manifesto was referring to unity of purpose. We don’t need a third normalisation committee in Namibia. I assure you that myself and my team will try our utmost to make sure we avoid infighting at all times,” he said.
“If I may call you here [to the podium] so we can join hands . . . there is no winner here. The winner is Namibian football.”
Kauta, whose campaign was centred around upgrading the amateur Namibian football set-up to a professional level, accepted defeat.
It was the second time he has unsuccessfully attempted to become the NFA president, following his disqualification from the elections three years ago.
At the time Kauta challenged the decision, going as far as the Court of Arbitration for Sport to appeal his disqualification.
This formed part of the wider issues that plunged domestic football into dilapidating war, which was arrested by the appointment of a second Fifa Normalisation Committee.
“I will no longer run for any other election at the NFA in the future. I wish those voted in power to run football for the best interest of the game, as they are football people,” Kauta said.
Monica Shapwa, who was already guaranteed a spot on the nine-member executive council as the Namibian Women Football Association head, congratulated the winning slate.
She is hopeful that the NFA’s extensively documented troubles will be a thing of the past.
“The outcome of the election is a democratic process, and we need to respect it. The masses have spoken. I’m looking forward to the next four years to see the direction our football is headed in under the leadership of Mr Shimooshili and the rest of the executive members,” Shapwa said.
The NFA executive council also includes Murs Markus (Southern Stream first division), and ordinary members Laurance Tommy Kandundu (North West first division), Joseph Hailombe (Ohangwena region), Precious Chaka (Zambezi region), Samwel Kamuyoyo (Kavango East region), Egidius Mangundu Nambara (Kavango West region) and Michael Situde (Hardap region).
“I’m really glad we are at this stage where we don’t have a normalisation committee any more. Now we can unlock some of the benefits from Fifa as Fifa does not give those to members under a normalisation committee,” Shapwa said.
The outgoing Fifa normalisation committee said the new NFA executive council has the responsibility “to lead the association into the future” and “ensure the protection of all interests of football for many years to come”.
The normalisation committee said the council’s primary objectives include “improving the game of football, ensuring fair play and its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values”.