No festive season break for CHAN team

By Michael Uugwanga

BRAVE Warriors coach Bobby Samaria has warned his 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) squad that there will be no festive season lay-off  for them as the technical team and the players will be in camp training hard until the tournament kicks off.

The 2020 CHAN tournament will be the 6th edition of the sporting contest organised by the Confederation of African Football and exclusively features players from the respective national championships.

The 2020 edition will run from 4 April to 25 April and will be staged in Cameroon.

Samaria made the remarksafter seeing his team go down 2-0 to Zambia in the Dr Hage Geingob Stadium on Saturday.

Speaking to Confidente Sport afterwards, Samaria said the CHAN team will be very busy over the festive season to ensure that the players are in good shape and the right frame of mind.

One of the reasons the players will be needed in camp is due to the absence of Namibia Premier League (NPL) action, because of a break-down in relations between NPL chairman Patrick Kauta and the Namibia Football Association’s Normalisation Committee over the relegation and promotion issue. Last Friday, the two football bodies were in court after the NPL submitted an urgent application over the NFA’s decision not to allow Orlando Pirates and Civics to be relegated from top flight football, following their 14th and 15th place finish out of 16 clubs. The NFA on the other hand directed the NPL to start the new season with 15 teams, because there was no first division league last season.

However, the NFA breathed a sigh of relief after the High Court dismissed the NPL’s urgent application after the judge found that the court had no jurisdiction in the matter. It is understood that the NPL has since submitted an appeal, which has cast more doubt over the eventual starting date of the NPL.

The status of Young African FC that was booted out of the league earlier this year for using a foreign player with false identification is another matter that is yet to be finalised by the NFA, although the club was found guilty and fined N$50,000.

“Since there is no active league, this team will remain together. Before we went to play Madagascar away in the second round first leg of the CHAN qualifier we played against regional teams in Mariental and we won 2-1 first match, 4-1 second match and 2-1 in the final match, and people asked me why we went to play against regional teams. I told them that we are taking the national team closer to the regions… There is no holiday for the players,” Samaria said.

He believes they will need to improve in the striking department and defence, which were way below expectation in the match against Zambia. Last year Namibia reached the quarter-finals of CHAN before losing to host and eventual winner Morocco 2-0.

“We did not convert our chances against Zambia and our defence made some few mistakes that cost us. We just have to work harder in training to improve in departments, such as the striking force and in the defence,” said Samaria.