In an incident that has sent shockwaves through the Namibian football community, four referees were rushed to hospital with suspected food poisoning in Otavi.
The referees were there to officiate first division games and were taken to hospital hours after they were discovered in extremely poor health by an acquaintance.
A video clip surfing social media shows one of the four lying on his back in a pool of blood, breathing heavily and groaning with pain. Three others were lying nearby and it could not be established if they were sleeping or unconscious.
According to information circulating on social media and which could not be confirmed by the NFA, the referees – three hailing from Grootfontein and one from Opuwo – embarked on their journey to Otavi with limited financial resources. The referees, who are yet to be identified, were allegedly unable to afford accommodations such as a guesthouse or bed and breakfast and were given shelter in an empty house of a friend.
The referees had dinner of grilled meat and sausages they had bought at a local store before retiring for the night. The following morning, an acquaintance visited the referees at the house, only to discover them in a distressing condition.
NFA secretary Jochen Traut confirmed the incident, saying, “We are aware of the situation and the matter is in the hands of the police who are currently dealing with it. Two (referees) are in the hospital while the other two have been discharged.”
Traut said they will assist the referees as soon as police investigations are complete.