Explore the Debmarine Namibia Premiership’s Teams, History and Current State of Play

Explore the Debmarine Namibia Premiership’s Teams, History and Current State of Play

Jarryd Westerdale
updated at December 12, 2023 at 8:12 PM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Peter Shalulile logo
Chieti logoFNamibia logo
  • Namibia's first division has had a rocky recent past with a new sponsor now leading the way
  • The current champions are African Stars and the league winners record is held by Black Africa FC
  • Namibia will be playing in the upcoming AFCON and boast players Deon Hotto and Peter Shalulile

Namibian football faces all the challenges of operating a league across such vast expanses.

The desert nation's shifting sands that collide with the cold Atlantic mirror the potential and turmoil of its sub-three million population.

A nation still finding its feet in several spheres, football has taken a back seat to other more pressing socio-economic objectives.

Namibia Premiership, African Stars, Black Africa, Debmarine.
The Debmarine Namibia Premiership is the top division of Namibian football, with African Stars its current champion. Photos: African Stars SC and Debmarine.
Source: Facebook

An overview of Namibian football

The now-defunct Namibia Premier League (NPL) was founded after South-West Africa became the Republic of Namibia following its independence from South Africa.

The league ran for 30 years before collapsing in 2020. In its place, emerged the Debmarine Namibia Premiership, named after the partially state-owned sponsor.

At least half of the 16 teams in the league come from Windhoek, with the remainder scattered throughout Okahandja, Otjiwarongo, Walvis Bay and Rundu.

The holders of the most NPL titles are Black Africa FC, who have won the top division 10 times. Unfortunately, Black Africa were relegated from the new Premiership last season.

African Stars have won the NPL five times and are the current Premiership holders, as well as being the current log leaders for the 2023/2024 season.

Stars, a former club of Deon Hotto, are three points ahead of FC Ongos and Khomas Nampol FC. Propping up the table currently are two-time NPL winners Orlando Pirates with one win from 13 games.

Fallen giants Black Africa are currently in administrative turmoil following the death of chairman Lucky Richter in 2021, as noted by KickOff.

A faction within the club claims Kandas Paulino is the Black Africa chairman, but The Namibian explains that league administrators have deemed that appointment to have been unconstitutional.

Black Africa FC have since been suspended until they can resolve their internal disputes.

A fight for Namibian professionalism

Namibian football is not blessed with a host of resources and the top division is yet to turn fully professional.

Few clubs have their own permanent infrastructure or stadia, with matches played at communal venues in the large cities.

Unpaid bills have seen league matches called off, as was the case between Pirates and Life Fighters. The electricity was cut to the stadium prior to kick-off as the Windhoek municipality was owed money.

Players also have to drive themselves to and from matches, often hundreds of kilometres away. In October, members of Tigers Sports Club were involved in a car accident driving back to Windhoek, as confirmed by Namibian Sun.

In the fracas created by Black Africa's administrators, the two factions formed their own squads and travelled to games, leaving three teams ready for kick-off.

Former chief executive of Orlando Pirates, Niklaas Kasipili told The Namibian:

"Our football league is somewhere between amateur and whatever. Egos have kept football from becoming professional. everyone wants to be a lone ranger, wanting to show he is the best.”
"Our culture and mindset on how we do things is where we have to start. Issues of sponsors, infrastructure and resources are key in professionalising the game,”

Despite the issues, Namibia have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast. They will be looking to upset Mali, Tunisia and their extravagant spending cousins, South Africa.

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Hugo Broos interrupted by bonus stalemate

Sports Brief recently reported on South African players' dissatisfaction with their AFCON bonus structure.

Hugo Broos is gearing up to submit his preliminary squad for the continental showpiece in Ivory Coast.

The final squad list must be submitted to CAF by January 3 with the team set to assemble on January 4.

Jarryd Westerdale photo
Jarryd Westerdale
Jarryd Westerdale (based in Johannesburg) joined Sports Brief after four years in the community journalism sphere. He is a two-time Alet Roux Award winner and was a finalist in multiple categories at the Forum of Community Journalism Excellence Awards.
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