Local players’ prospects abroad hampered by pandemic

By Michael Uugwanga

LITTLE known local football agent Hareni ‘Vieira’ Mbaeva and his agent/partner Timo-Vuzzi Haukambe, current agents of McCartney Nawaseb who plays professional football at FC Uzbek in Uzbekistan and WanguGome at Alashkert Yerevan in the Armenian Premier League have revealed that they were so close to signing three Namibian footballers to European and in Middle Eastern clubs.

A former footballer himself, Mbaeva played in Namibia for Sport Klub Windhoek (SKW) and African Stars.  He also played abroad at Casa de Portugal em Macau FC in China, and said their plan for this year is to take at least 10 players outside Namibia, depending on how the Covid-19 situation unfolds.

Confidente Sport understands that two of the footballers destined for Europe and Asia include Ivan Kamperipa of African Stars and Benyamin Nenkavu, formerly with Zambian outfit Buildon Football Club in Zambia’s top league, but Mbaeva did not want to reveal more when asked about the two players.

Nawaseb joined Uzbek from local club Black Africa in the Namibia Premier League after his contract came ran out at the end of the 2018/2019 season, while Gome has been without a club since leaving South African team Cape Umoya, which plays in that country’s first division.

In an interview with Confidente Sport, Mbaeva who is now on his farm during the lockdown period said his job is to export more Namibian players abroad, especially to Europe and the Middle- East.

“At the moment we are all affected by Covid-19, especially us the agents… We were so close to export three players, two in Europe and one in the Middle East. In Asia I can say it is in Oman, as I have received a message from a club in Oman asking if I have a player interested to join. Our aim is to have 10 players at least playing in Europe and Asia as they are the best places for our players to excel.

“In South Africa we have seen that our players tend to struggle due to favouritism. We want to make a big difference in our football circuit and that is to create employment for our footballers and … to take them outside the country. We just want what is best for our players. We all know that there is no future in our local league (NPL), as nobody knows when the league will start,” said Mbaeva.

Having more local players going to Europe could give the national team coach Bobby Samaria a selection headache whenever he calls up players for national duties, in particular during African cup of Nations (AFCON) or FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

While the country’s future at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) participation could also give the national selectors second thoughts about revamping the current CHAN squad that was set to participate at the CHAN tournament later this month in Cameroon before it was cancelled until further notice due to Covid-19.