By Victor Angula |
The rescue of Oshana football is largely on the shoulders of one man: Mr Phillip Dala, the Chairperson of Oshana Namibia Football Association (Oshana NFA).
Despite the challenges and obstacles posed by Covid-19 and a sluggish economy, Dala is confident that by the time his term in office will come to an end he will have achieved his goals – which include sending no fewer than three Oshana-based teams to the Namibia Professional Football League.
“I will also make sure that at least 5 male players and 5 female players from Oshana are signed up to some of the professional clubs in Windhoek,” Dala told Omutumwa when we visited him at his second-floor office in the building which serves as the Office of the Governor of Oshana.
The office, which has two desks (the Male Soccer Desk and the Female Soccer Desk) has two Coordinators who are on the payroll of the Namibia Football Association, and Dala said that it was on account of the goodwill and support of the Governor that an office has been availed to them at no cost.
“I have great support from the Governor’s Office,” Dala stated. “We are given this office to operate from, without paying rent. With this kind of support we will definitely achieve our goals.”
Oshana Region is the biggest in terms of the economic size when compared to its sister regions of Oshikoto, Ohangwena and Omusati. With the towns of Ondangwa, Ongwediva and Oshakati the region commands the biggest chunk of potential in terms of sport excellence in northern Namibia.
Soon after Independence soccer in Oshana was booming, producing teams such as the KK Palace and Oshakati City which made great inroads in the Namibia Premier League for many seasons. As a result a world-class Oshakati Independence Stadium was built to be homeground for Oshakati City.
However from the year 2010 things started nosediving. Oshakati City got relegated from the Namibia Football League, and soon enough Oshakati Stadium got neglected, fell in disuse and became dilapidated so much so that the NFA then refused to have any of its leagues’ matches played there.
But now Dala, who was elected Chairperson of Oshana NFA in 2019, is committed to turning things around.
“My task is to look for extra stadiums and sports fields, and to make sure that soccer academies are active, even for women soccer, coaching and referees training have to take place. Just last week we held here in Oshana a coaching training where our coaches got the NFA Introductory Coaching Certificates.
“Come the year 2023 when my term ends you can come back and ask me about what we have achieved by then.”
Last week the Ministry of Health put all football activities on hold as a result of the increasing Covid-19 cases in the country. “Our football leaders in Windhoek are in discussions with the Ministry to try and find a way out of this situation,” Dala said.
“You know that organized football had been dead in our country for the past 3 or 4 years. We just now started a few weeks ago, and hopefully once this situation is resolved our football will be back in full swing.
“Oshana Women Football League will also be in full swing, as well as the Under 10 and Under 20s.”
By looking at the passion of the man, one tends to believe that come 2023 when his time at the helm of Oshana-NFA will come to an end he will have done something excellent for the soccer of Oshana. But only time will tell.
In the photo: Oshana NFA Chairman Phillip Dala and Oshana Women Football Coordinator Justina Ashiyana.