African Stars title celebration marred by public disorder

WINDHOEK: The crowning of the 2023/24 Debmarine Namibia Premiership champions at Independence Stadium on Saturday was marred by supporters invading the football field.

The chaotic award ceremony saw hundreds of African Stars supporters flock onto the football pitch to be near their players as they received the trophy for once again being crowned Champions of the Debmarine Namibia Premiership.

Two brilliant goals in the second half from Ngunzu Salazar and Willy Stephanus sealed the deal for the Katutura-based Namibian football giants to retain their title, while at the same time relegating Orlando Pirates.

At the end of the match, the Namibia Football Association (NFA) organised a ceremony to crown the champions, but this joyous moment was interrupted by scenes of the champions’ supporters who also wanted a piece of history as they posed for pictures with the trophy, causing chaos during the award ceremony.

In an interview with Nampa on Sunday, a disappointed Salomo Hei, African Stars’ chairperson said the
y are happy to have retained the trophy after a gruelling season, but the awarding ceremony left a lot to be desired.

‘The first thing we noticed when on stage is there were no medals. Last year when we were crowned champions it was done by the Normalisation Committee and things moved smoothly, we had a team picture but as I speak today, we don’t have any team pictures of being crowned champions because supporters were everywhere on the football field,’ he said.

Hei added that the security detail at the field was not up to standard as people were unaware of who was doing what and when.

‘We did not know who was going to give the cheques and the trophy. The Normalisation Committee did things much better; we can go back to that award ceremony and show you photos and how supporters were organised to be in the stands,’ Hei said while stating that they would have wanted things to be run better.

He also said that players were asking for medals and there were no medals, therefore it’s essential to allow the Premi
er League to run its affairs independently so that those in the office of the Football Association can focus on other matters.

‘The current football leaders are doing their utmost best to see football played in the country which at times make work too much for them. It’s important to allow the Premier League to be an independent body doing its administration,’ Hei said.

He also stated that not having the Football Association president at the crowning ceremony allows for ‘these small things to happen because the head of the house is not around’.

When the NFA was approached for comment on the matter, its communications department promised to revert but failed to do so before the story was published.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency