NEW ERA | Friday, February 9 2018 Play the ball, not the man Page 42 Bennie Volgraaf, the lanky football playing ‘Japie’ Page 43 SPORT Uutoni appointed new sports minister Otniel Hembapu Windhoek NPL tells First Divisions to ready themselves …to start on March 3 Otniel Hembapu Windhoek The chairperson of the Southern Stream First Gaoseb, says all football divisions will soon be up and running after they were given March 3 as the The chairpersons of the three First the chairman of the Namibia Premier League (NPL) Patrick Kauta, where fresh news around the three divisions was shared. announced by the NPL to date, Gaoseb told New Era Sport that Kauta assured them a sponsor will soon be declared as talks were at an advanced stage and the prospects are looking bright. “I’m coming from a meeting with the NPL chairman and the issue discussed and we were promised that everything is under control. My other meeting, where Kauta gave us March 3 as our kickoff date plus he also divisions will soon be announced as talks are going well. After begging for a meeting with him (Kauta), it’s a relief to hear that at least there is some progress and teams will soon be back in action,” said Gaoseb, who need at least N million to revive their activities. He also said Kauta yesterday promised that the NPL will in the meantime try and advance a small amount of money to the three divisions to help with logistical issues as they prepare for the March 3 kickoff date. But was however reluctant to disclose the amount the NPL plans to temporarily advance to them. Yesterday’s meeting and the announcement of the new kickoff date left many confused because the NPL its principle sponsors MTC and FNB Namibia to secure sponsorship for the their sponsorship as both sponsors feared there won’t be relegation and division football. still not clear where NPL and its two sponsors stand at the moment as far as their initial deadline is concerned. Also, further digging by New Era Sport yesterday brought to light that most NPL executive members were in the dark regarding Kauta’s meeting with the three chairpersons were approached said it was news to them as no communication had ever taken place regarding such a meeting. Similarly, NPL chief administrator Tovey Hoebeb – who should know every small detail around the division – surprisingly pleaded ignorance when asked about yesterday’s meeting, saying he only heard about the meeting but was not aware nor was he informed about it by Kauta. Erastus Uutoni has been appointed as the new Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, replacing veteran politician Jerry Ekandjo, who was sacked by President Hage Geingob last week Thursday. Uutoni’s appointment was announced yesterday at State his dismissal remained an ordinary Swapo backbencher in the National Assembly. Born 57 years ago in Omatando near Ongwediva in the Oshana region, Uutoni is no newcomer to public Home Affairs and Immigration, a position he held until yesterday’s appointment as Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service. in Marketing both from the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) as well as a from the Institute of Political Science in Moscow, was also elected as Mayor of Ongwediva in 1998. National Assembly of Namibia for the general elections. First to warmly welcome his appointment was the Namibia Football Players Union (NAFPU), whose secretary-general Olsen Kahiriri said this was a step in the right direction by President Hage Geingob, as he strongly believes Uutoni has the required attitude, mindset and energy to steer the country’s youth and sport fraternity to the desired heights. “NAFPU, as a crucial stakeholder within the Namibian sport sector, we would like to congratulate Minister Uutoni on his appointment and equally welcome him to the sport family with open arms. As we are all aware of the many challenges facing the Namibian sport sector and the country’s youth as a whole, we have full faith in Uutoni’s leadership ability and his overall vision for Namibia as he has proven over the years in his various capacities, our readiness to assist and work hand in glove with him. It’s still early days to comment much but I hope things like the trifling budget allocation to the sport sector and inadequate human capital will enjoy great prominence on his list of priorities,” said an optimistic Kahiriri. New head… Erastus Uutoni is new Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service.