Where to from here?

The following is an opinion piece on the state of football in the country.

20 May 2019 | Sports

For all local football's claims to be the biggest sport in Namibia, it has never won a match at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals and has failed to qualify for the Fifa World Cup. Somehow, the people's game in Namibia has not reached the heights that was anticipated. Y

et this means there are still new lands for football to conquer.

The African club championships (African safari) has always been the domain of North African clubs and only in recent times have teams in the sub-region become competitive. Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and TP Mazembe come to mind. If hyperbole was inescapable, their relative success has vindicated optimism about local football's capacity for growth.

Our beloved African Stars participated in the 2018/19 CAF Champions League for the first time after a long while in the wilderness. This wilderness was not African Stars' doing or any other team in Namibia, but because of the unconducive environment prevailing in Namibian football at that time.

We will come back to this later on.

The 'African safari' was a deliberate intent on the part of the African Stars management under the tutelage of our astute chairman, Patrick Kauta. The collective view was taken after giving consideration to the following questions: What can we do to revive domestic football? Can we sustain a competitive Brave Warriors without a competitive domestic league?

We answered these questions by beating Volcano Club de Moroni from the Comoros Island in the preliminaries and booking a date with South Africa's Orland Pirates. In the first leg against Pirates in Johannesburg we held our own and came away with a credible 0-0 draw. It was a big task for the boys on the field and they responded to the clarion call of putting the Reds from Windhoek back on the African football map.

Ivan Kamberipa gave a performance that will change his life, Ronald 'Stigga' Ketjijere rolled back the years, Tjiuana ua Tjinotjiua gave a combative right-back performance, Aubrey Amseb and Image Isaacks dazzled in the middle of the park. In the fullness of time we will come to appreciate what this will mean to the archives.

Okaserandu, the pride and joy of our people, during the good and bad times, the departed elders on whose wisdom we relied upon, used to tell us that there are two things that the Otjiherero people don't differ on, namely the great Chief Hosea Kutako and our beloved team African Stars.

Back to the business. The second leg in Windhoek was a watershed for our football as the Okaserandu faithful filled the Sam Nujoma Stadium to the rafters. It was cool Saturday with clouds hovering and the gods preparing for two traditional teams to do battle. If time could stand still, this would have been a fitting occasion. Unfortunately, we lost to a soft goal bundled over by Justin Shonga from Zambia. We came so close, yet so far, and tears alone could not tell the whole story.

We moved on to the CAF Confederation Cup where we had to face the might of North Africa in Rajah Casablanca and we lost 2-1 on aggregate over two legs. Marrakesh was a baptism of fire, but we came out with our heads held high. Namibian football is back. Did we learn from the African safari? Yes. Will we do it again? Yes.



Where to from here?

The Brave Warriors have qualified for the Afcon 2019 in Egypt and it appears we do it in 10-year cycles - the golden generation of 1998 and 2008, and the current team under Ricardo Mannetti.

Football is currently being run by a normalisation committee and they will eventually have to give the reigns to a substantive structure that will lead football to its rightful place. If truth be told, on the field of play football has overachieved and taken on a life of its own, but management cannot be left to the imagination of the unsuspecting.

The incoming leadership at Soccer House should sell us their vision that the country can buy into, in order to propel us to new heights. Peter Shalulile and Deon Hotto should be playing in Europe, Benson Shilongo is busy setting Egypt alight and Petrus Shitembi has taken his Warriors form to the Zambian league. Combine this with the emerging talents of Ivan Kamberipa, the 18-year-old Mbakondja Tjahikika from Eleven Arrows and Deon Tjizumaue from Tigers. The talent is there, but it is the packaging of this product that will take us to greater heights.

In conclusion, we need a visionary leadership at Soccer House, we need Namibian teams to compete in African competitions and corporate Namibia will have to pump money into football, so that we can have a product that all of us will be proud of. We will start qualifying for Afcon more frequently and start exporting Collin Benjamins and Rassie Tjikuzus again. The future is bright.

*Salomo Hei is the executive director of African Stars.

Salomo Hei

Similar News

 

It was a tough course - Lavinia Haitope

12 hours ago | Sports

Limba Mupetami Elite runner Lavinia Haitope shrugged off tough competition from Ndeshimona Ekandjo and Beata Naigambo to win the 10km women's race in a time...

Namibia gears for women's Cosafa

12 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMIThe Brave Gladiators of Namibia are among the nations to contend for the Cosafa Women's Championship title from July 31 to August 11.The 2019...

Namibia lose all matches

12 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMINamibia lost all three matches in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Series Finals in Valencia, Spain.The Namibian senior women's field hockey team was taught...

Determined United sink Suburbs to extend lead

12 hours ago | Sports

A 14-man Trustco United rugby team put up an impressive performance on Saturday afternoon as they defeated Western Suburbs 23-22 in their Namibia Rugby Premier...

Nigeria players protest unpaid bonuses after elimination

12 hours ago | Sports

Nigeria's players refused to leave the team hotel after their exit from the Women's World Cup on Saturday, demanding that the country's soccer federation clears...

CAF to use Fifa expertise to step up reform

12 hours ago | Sports

President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad is aiming to use Fifa's expertise to accelerate the reform process in the African governing...

Spain striker Torres retires from soccer

12 hours ago | Sports

Fernando Torres has confirmed his retirement at 35 after a stellar 18-year career at the top.Torres, who scored more than 100 goals across two spells...

Tom and Jerry win KASU Winter Champs

12 hours ago | Sports

Newly formed Tom and Jerry football team from Katutura won the football category of the eighth edition of Katutura Sports Union's (KASU) winter cup on...

I'm proud of the team – Mensah

12 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMIThe Namibia Rugby Union president Corrie Mensah said he was proud of the team's performance at the recently ended 2019 World Rugby Nations Cup...

France fend off Australia in final

12 hours ago | Sports

The junior Wallabies suffered an agonising loss in the final of the World Rugby Under-20 championship in Argentina, beaten 24-23 by defending champions France.Here's a...

Latest News

Namibia gears for women's Cosafa

12 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMIThe Brave Gladiators of Namibia are among the nations to contend for the Cosafa Women's Championship title from July 31 to August 11.The 2019...

The sins of the fathers

12 hours ago | Opinion

The inaction of the last 29 years or so is catching up with us. There is a real and serious threat of hepatitis E becoming...

Sports is a sitting duck

12 hours ago | Columns

Limba MupetamiSports development in Namibia is a sitting duck. This is because the Namibian government has over the years developed a pattern of disappointing athletes...

Namibia lose all matches

12 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMINamibia lost all three matches in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Series Finals in Valencia, Spain.The Namibian senior women's field hockey team was taught...

Determined United sink Suburbs to...

12 hours ago | Sports

A 14-man Trustco United rugby team put up an impressive performance on Saturday afternoon as they defeated Western Suburbs 23-22 in their Namibia Rugby Premier...

Nigeria players protest unpaid bonuses...

12 hours ago | Sports

Nigeria's players refused to leave the team hotel after their exit from the Women's World Cup on Saturday, demanding that the country's soccer federation clears...

'Vote for yourself'- Geingob

12 hours ago | Politics

President Hage Geingob on Saturday said young people must stop crying for positions and start voting themselves into power. Speaking at the Swapo Party School's...

Giraffe suffers silent extinction

12 hours ago | Environment

World Giraffe day is celebrated annually on 21 June to help mobilise support and raise awareness of the threats faced by giraffes around Africa that...

CAF to use Fifa expertise...

12 hours ago | Sports

President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad is aiming to use Fifa's expertise to accelerate the reform process in the African governing...

Load More