When Diamonds Save Soccer: Incredible Story From Namibia
This is an incredible story about soccer in Namibia. League soccer returned to the country after a three-year gap, thanks to the diamond diggers.
A soccer championship in the exotic country resumed on Sunday, November 5, after a three-year hiatus caused by a dispute between the football association and its professional league.
The king sport has been absent from Namibia since the end of the 2018-2019 season. The dispute between the Namibia Football Association and the affiliated Namibia Premier League (NPL) came after the NPL was directed to retain the status of two relegated teams.
But it refused, causing a long-standing impasse highlighted by several court actions which finally led to the league’s expulsion from the NFA, according to supersport.com.
Diamond Diggers Decide To Save Soccer In Namibia
The two sides finally settled their dispute and soccer will have a new beginning in Namibia. A new league, the 11-member Namibia Premier Football League, was launched in April last year but struggled to find sponsors until last week when a powerful sponsor, the diamond mining company, agreed to help the first league in the African country with money.
"Debmarine Namibia will sponsor the top tier league in the country to a tune of 13 million for the 2022/2023 season, the league will be known as the Debmarine Namibia Premiership," NFA announced.
The season's opening match occurred between five-time champions African Stars and the university team UNAM in the capital Windhoek. The following games will take place this week.
Namibia And Diamonds
According to Namdia.com, the official story of Namibia’s diamond history starts in 1908, when a young railways worker, Zacharias Lewala picked up a large shiny diamond whilst on duty near the country’s southern coastal town of Luderitz.
This apparently small event would change the course of Namibia's history forever. An avalanche of fortune hunters descended on this desert land further to his discovery. As a result of the diamond rush, cities grew from the sand, some of which are mere remnants of the past.
The German colonial government, which at the time had control over what was known as Deutsch Sud West Afrika (German Southwest Africa), declared the diamond-rich areas of the country as Forbidden Areas or "Sperrgebiet" and small mining operations set up shop within these areas.
According to Time.com, millions of carats of diamonds have been exported from Namibia since 1908. These beautiful, sparkling stones have a dirty history tied to German colonial rule.
Between 1904 and 1908, Germany’s military and leadership oversaw the killing of at least 80,000 Africans in Namibia. On May 28, Germany apologized. Declaring his country’s past violence in Namibia "genocidal," Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also pledged $1.3 billion in aid to Namibians.
After World War II, most of the colonial mining companies were amalgamated to form Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM), which held the monopoly of the mining rights within this "Forbidden Area".
Photo Credit: Twitter / NFA