Mannetti vs NFA’s Normalisation Committee?

By John Tuerijama

WE heap well-deserved praise and thanks on Brave Warriors’ head coach Ricardo Mannetti, who turned our misfortune of failing to qualify for the continental showpiece around after a lengthy struggle, but that seems not to have convinced the Namibia Football Association (NFA)’s Normalisation Committee (NC) to renegotiate his contract. Bucksy, as coach Mannetti is affectionately known, took it upon himself to restore Namibian footballing glory in the midst of ongoing leadership wrangles that didn’t stop the Khomasdal-born son of the Namibian soil from executing his duties as national coach to the best of his abilities.

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Football fans and pundits alike expect the NFA NC to have initiated contract negotiations with a view to extending Mannetti’s contract beyond the 2022 International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) World Cup qualifiers. Mannetti has proven his love for his country and commitment to the team and is arguably Namibia’s most decorated national coach after winning the Council of Southern of African Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup, the COSAFA Plate, having progressed beyond the African Nations Cup (CHAN) group stages, and seeing the team qualify for the 2019 AFCON showdown scheduled for Cairo, Egypt. It was incumbent upon the NFA NC to ensure a smooth path towards renegotiating the head coach’s contract before heading to Egypt, but that has not taken place, why? One wonders what the NFA NC agenda is, and why they didn’t promptly attend to the contractual terms of the coach.

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I mean the contract is expiring in June, why then wait for his return from Egypt to start possible negotiations?

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It’s important for the national head coach to be in the best possible frame of mind to earnestly concentrate on the mission at hand, but a cloud of uncertainty over him regarding his future with the Brave Warriors might affect him psychologically. The logical conclusion for the good of the game is for the NFA NC to extend Mannetti’s contract and not to create a situation whereby the steps taken in moving the game forward are reversed by taking several more steps back.

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Mannetti’s achievements without an iota of doubt speak volumes and that alone must warrant a continuation of his work as senior national football team head coach. I tend to wonder about the merits and processes undertaken to appoint the members of the NC, and if the process was truly transparent, because word from the grapevine is that some may have a different agenda, despite having been told what the mandate of the NC is. I for one don’t want to see a situation where what has been built up by Mannetti over a period of five years is reduced to ashes with the sudden introduction of a new head coach and technical committee. The bottom-line going forward is that there is wide and fair expectation that the NC should retain Mannetti and his soldiers looking ahead to the 2022 FIFA WC qualifiers. Let the NFA NC concentrate on the primary objective of organising member elections and the elective congress, therefore it is advisable to keep the status quo of the senior national team intact by extending Mannetti’s contract. Let’s not see a situation where the position of the national coach is advertised, which we are hearing of so often, but let’s continue to grow the game.

We have under Mannetti conquered COSAFA, qualified for AFCON and hope to qualify again for CHAN.

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Continuity is key and the only remedy at this stage is to raise our football fortunes at international level – and all indications are that the current technical committee under the tutelage of Mannetti has the necessary qualities and skills to score more victories.

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