A new hope

VIEWPOINT Adolf Kaure [email protected]

26 November 2018 | Opinion

Despite Namibia’s 0-0 draw against Guinea-Bissau last weekend there is a bit of optimism which surrounds Namibian football.

A new hope has sprung up and everyone is behind the Brave Warriors. Having stunned Mozambique 2-1 in Maputo a few months ago and edging them 1-0 in Windhoek, Namibia sits pretty in group K of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) African Nations Cup qualifiers and now only needs a draw against Zambia when the two sides meet on 22 March next year.

After years of heartache and unfulfilled expectations there is now a chance that Namibia will qualify for the 2019 CAF African Cup of Nations which will take place in Cameroon. If this happens it will only be the second time in our country’s history and the first time since 2008.

If it does turn out that Namibia qualifies for the 2019 CAF AFCON, it will be sweet redemption for Namibian football fans. The fans have witnessed its football go from turmoil, to a recovery period and to a more revived time.

For two consecutive seasons now, the Namibian Premier League has only kicked off in November, while other leagues across the world already started in August. There have been too many political games being played at top level management of the Namibia Football Association, which saw the president of the association, Frans Mbidi, wrongfully fired by the NFA national executive committee only for FIFA to overrule the dismissal.

Namibia is currently ranked 109th out of 211 countries in the Coca Cola FIFA world rankings. It might be a long way of the best ranking the Brave Warriors had which is 69th in 1998, but it’s definitely progress in the right direction because in 2017 we had an average ranking of 118th and in 2015, we got as low as 129th.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to thank head coach Ricardo Mannetti for his outstanding job throughout the year. It would also not hurt to thank those who appointed him for patiently keeping him ‘at the helm’ for a good five years because often when there is consistent leadership results also tend to be consistent.

It was a year in which Namibia for the first time made it past the group stages of a major competition when they qualified for the quarter finals of the 2018 CHAN (African Nations Championships) which took place in Morocco. A great feat it was indeed.

Namibian football fans’ patience is soon to be rewarded. Their desperation for Namibian glory was evident as their red shirts filled the Sam Nujoma Stadium last Saturday. Brave Warriors fans have been put through so much, from top management squabbles to a league that has been run in comic fashion.

However, as 22 March 2019 draws near, a glimmer of hope presents itself for Namibian soccer fans to be filled with pride and rally behind their beloved Brave Warriors.

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