CHAN assignment massive- Samaria

By John Tuerijama

THE newly appointed interim Brave Warriors head coach Bobby Samaria has described the assignment that he is tasked with is a mammoth, but do-able challenge.

The Namibia Football Association (NFA) Normalisation Committee (NC) this week announced the appointment of Samaria as interim head coach of the squad ahead of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Africa Nations Cup (CHAN) qualifying campaign against Comoros on 26 July, while the return leg is scheduled for Windhoek early next month.

Samaria took over from decorated Brave Warriors mentor Ricardo Mannetti, whose contract is expected to end on 31 July. Should Namibia beat Comoros they will take on the winner between Madagascar and Mozambique.

Known as ‘The Governor’ during his football playing career, Samaria in an interview with this publication said he is partly happy with the fitness level of players, despite the long lay-off but expressed satisfaction with the players who participated in the 2019 Council of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) Cup in neighbouring South Africa.

He said most of the players’ fitness levels – especially those who campaigned in the COSAFA Cup finals – is beyond the threshold, but noted that defender Larry Horaeb is currently nursing an injury.

As to who will captain the side during the CHAN campaign following the retirement of long-term captain Ronald Ketjijere, he said the captain has publicly announced his retirement and that he would look instead at key players during the weeklong training camp to identify a suitable captain who has been long in the fold, who is experienced and capable of inspiring the team.

Despite the weeklong training session which started on Tuesday, Samaria said the fact that they are footballers means they are capable of producing reasonable results against Comoros.

“We have played Comoros before and I watched them playing when they were coached by Mannetti. We need to ensure that we do not lose against Comoros but instead get the all-important away goal against the Islanders,” stressed Samaria.

The interim coach emphasised that his contractual agreement with the NFA NC was only for the CHAN campaign and that he would do whatever it takes to make the country proud. Asked why he brought in Woody Jacobs as assistant, Samaria said Jacobs had been long in the coaching business and he deemed it fit to give Jacobs an opportunity.

“We are both eager and willing to work hard and serve our country with the best of our abilities,” he said. “He is a top tactician and when I looked at the Brave Warriors’ performance at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Egypt we conceded goals from set pieces and I intend on working on the defence. Our focus is on beating Comoros for now to get the needed away point before anything else,” said the interim coach.

On his part the visibly excited Jacobs thanked Samaria for believing in his abilities and expertise. “Honestly speaking, it is a coach’s dream to one day coach a national team and it is no different to me. The call came up and I jumped at the opportunity. Forget about it being interim, I will simply gives my all. We will both give the country the best we have.”

Jacobs thanked Mannetti for having laid a strong foundation and said they will build on what has been achieved so far. He added that it will be a collective effort and they will be consulting with Mannetti for guidance.

He further said he was humbled by the opportunity presented and their objective is to better Namibia’s last performance at the maiden CHAN final held in Morocco by progressing to the quarter finals and probably the semi-final stage.

The team is expected to leave for Comoros next week Monday.

Players called up include Charles Hambira and Junias Theophilus (Tura Magic), Aprocious Petrus (Eleven Arrows), Kennedy Eib (Touch&Go), Mata Mbemutjiua (Young African), Jonas Mathias (Citizens), Edmund Kambanda and Charles Uirab (UNAM), Ratanda Mbazuvara, Treasure Kauapirura, Ivan Kamberipa, Obrey Amseb, Marcel Papama and Gustav Isaak (African Stars), Immanuel Heita, Dynamo Fredericks, Wesley Katjiteo, Vitapi Ngaruka, Emilio Martin, McCartney Naweseb, Wendell Rudath (Black Africa), Mapenzi Muwanei, Llewelyn Stanley and Absalom Iimbondi (Tigers), Isaskar Gurirab (Life Fighters), Elmo Kambindu, Olsen Ameb and Bernard Horaseb (Mighty Gunners), Panduleni Nekundi (unattached) and Revered Matroos (Young Brazilians).