Pressure to perform affecting players

The pressure to stay on top of their game takes a toll on most players as they battle to juggle international call-ups and club participation.

23 November 2020 | Sports

Limba Mupetami







WINDHOEK

Footballers across the world had to travel for international break, despite the fact that some managers and medics were reluctant to release their multi-million assets amid concerns of Covid-19 infections or injuries.

For Namibian footballers, getting an opportunity to play for the national team is a blessing, as the lack of domestic league action has seen many players sitting idle this year.

Namibian Sun caught up with 22-year-old Brave Warriors defender Ryan Nyambe, who explained his absence from last week’s Africa Cup of Nation’s (Afcon) second leg encounter against Mali, the challenges he has faced during this time and having to take several long flights to attend to his national duty.

Sitting it out

While he travelled with the team to Bamako, where they faced Mali on Friday, 13 November, Nyambe sat the game out.

The Namibian side lost the match 1-0 before facing a home test against the same opposition in Windhoek four days later, losing 2-1.

“I felt pain in my quad and had to make the hard decision of sitting the match out,” Nyambe said.

While warming up, the fullback felt an ache in his thigh. “I felt that my quad was in a bit of pain during the warm-up. I tried to carry on, but unfortunately it got no better.

“As a professional, you need to look after your body and make hard decisions, therefore, I had to pull out to prevent serious injury,” he said.

Exhausting travel

Speaking from his home base in England, the Namibian said travel over the international break is not easy on any player.

“After playing the Queens Park Rangers game and then having to travel for 13 hours is, of course, not easy. I deal with the exhaustion by making sure that I get the right amount of rest.

“I think communication is key, so I inform my coaches on how I’m feeling, so that I can adapt to the session; maybe do half training instead of full session or maybe just have a stretch day when I arrive in Namibia,” the footballer said.

‘I enjoy the sun’

With England known for its cold, dreary weather, readjusting to the heat of Africa can also take a toll on players, but Nyambe said he enjoys the sun and the change in weather doesn’t affect him much.

“The heat did not have much of an effect on me. I’m a fit person so I think I handled it well. I enjoy the sun, you don’t get much of it in England,” he said.

The young player remained tight-lipped on the Brave Warriors’ performance so far in the qualifiers.

“I think I will know more as I get more experience on international level,” Nyambe, who has six caps for the national side, said.

No surprise

Coach Tony Mowbray updated international media about Nyambe missing their clash against Luton on Saturday.

“Is it a surprise on the back of three flights to the middle of Africa, on the back of the games he's been playing? Not really. So, we're anticipating Ryan to be unavailable for the weekend,” he said before the Luton match.

“But he'll have to come back and have a [Covid-19] test and have that sent off before he comes back into the training group,” Mowbray said.

Record

The Namibians will play Chad on 22 March 2021 (away) and Guinea at home on 30 March 2021.

Nyambe made his international debut in a friendly against Ghana in June 2019, before starting all three games against Morocco, South Africa and Ivory Coast at the 2019 Afcon finals in Egypt.

His side faces Preston on Tuesday.



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