Village football league making a difference

27 May 2016 | Sports

Oshana is the only region in the country having a legitimate third division.
Established in 2006, Oshana Village-Based Soccer League is still progressing well, despite challenges that are trying to put it down.
The league is not a registered member of the Namibia Football Association (NFA), but is accredited as a feeder league to the Oshana Second Division which is a registered member of NFA.
According to the league founding and current chairperson, Herman Paulus Kalimbo, the league was created to bridge the gap between rural and professional football in the region. After the collapse of country’s NFA third divisions in 2003, it also brought to an end second division football in the region. Teams can only get out once promoted to the first division, but no team is relegated and no new team could enter, unless those relegated from the first division.
“We started with 18 teams from villages surrounding Omaalala and nine committee members as Omaalala-Based Soccer League. Everything was informal and we were playing for fun, but we had a vision and big dreams. Players were also playing the role of referees and everybody can play in our league at any time. We were using Omaalala school field which was not at a standard. Later we brought in teams from towns and they brought in new ideas. We started administration membership fees and things started getting better and in line with our vision and dreams,” Kalimbo narrated.
Kalimbo said people like Dr Mutti brought life in the league when they started owning teams.
They also started sponsoring some motivational awards that boosted players’ morale. In 2008, we reached an agreement with NFA to become a feeder league to the regional second division and our first team, Africa Motto was promoted to second division is 2009.
“Our agreement with NFA is that our first two teams will take part in the promotional playoffs with the last two teams in the second division. Older teams in the region such as Eleven Morning Stars, Teenagers and African United were all relegated to our league,” he said.
“Currently, the majority of the teams in the second division, such as Onelago, Oshakati United, Khuse Academy, Foxy Eleven, J Aron, African United and the 2015/16 second division winner, African Motto are our product and we are thankful of that.”
Kalimbo applauded the business community in the region who are supporting football development.
He also called on other businesspeople to start assisting them.
The 2015/16 league ended recently, with Young Brave and Brave Lions qualifying to play in the playoffs for a place in the second division.