Keimuine forgiven, focus on beating Bafana Bafana

THOUGH many football pundits questioned the logic of Brave Warriors’ head coach in bringing on late substitute striker Utamunua Keimuine, who netted an own goal against Morocco last Sunday, the focus now must be on the clash against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana on Friday. 

The Namibian mentor’s approach against Morocco worked very well against the Atlas Lions, which saw the north-African country able to create few scoring opportunities or get the Brave Warriors on the counter-attack, thus avoiding what happened during the 2018 Africa Nations Cup (CHAN) quarter finals, which Namibia lost 2-0. 

The solitary goal defeat to Morocco is now water under the bridge and the focus of the technical committee must shift to the scheduled South African encounter, at which Namibian football lovers expect nothing but a sweet win against our south- ern neighbour. 

I must however single out players who did extremely well, highlighting goalminder Loydt Kazapua’s outstanding performance. He was spot-on between the sticks and denied Morocco any chance of finding the back of the net, while England-based Ryan Nyambe and Larry Horaeb executed their instructions with distinction. 

Be that as it may, we expect an epic performance against Bafana Bafana, who in their opening match against Ivory Coast demonstrated their lacklustre preparation for the 2019 continental showdown. 

With Mannetti accepting the blame for Namibia’s loss against Morocco, he has again shown leadership and has promised that the Brave Warriors will be rejuvenated against South Africa, which he said will be a SADC derby. 

Namibians want precisely such mentality from the coach to spearhead a winning strategy on Fri- day. I agree with him that the South African game will be a wholly different ball game and we will have to fight tooth and nail for regional bragging rights in terms of football dominance. 

It will be more entertaining for local football lovers to see the likes of Deon Hotto, Peter Shalulile, Benson Shilongo and Manfred Starke play their hearts out to secure Namibia’s first-ever win at the continental showpiece. 

I have no doubt that – as before – come Friday it will be an all-out battle for sporting honours between Namibia and South Africa. 

We were not an attacking unit against Morocco in our opening match, but the boys and the technical committee know very well what is at stake (an early exit), so to avoid that let’s go for the maxi- mum points against Bafana Bafana. Also, I predict a 2-1 victory for the Brave Warriors tomorrow night. 

As for the moratorium on the Namibia schools sports union we all know that government through the Sports Ministry put a moratorium on the Namibia Schools Sports Union (NSSU) participation in competitions abroad because there are simply no funds to have the junior national teams compete regionally, but that should not discourage the NSSU leadership from knocking on the doors of the corporate sector for support. 

I’m sure many corporates will not hesitate to assist where possible, even service station owners can assist with fuel for local transportation when NSSU teams compete locally. 

Grassroots sport development is key and there is no better place to start than with schools, where raw talent can be identified and nurtured. That can, of course, only be done if proper investment into sport development is prioritised. 

Folks, don’t get me wrong but my understanding of the moratorium is that the funds to sup- port NSSU teams competing internationally are depleted. And this is where the corporate sector’s role in injecting funding into youth and sport development becomes essential, and potentially phenomenal.