Sitali happy despite the losses

• By Michael Uugwanga in Maseru, Lesotho

AFTER seeing his team lose both its matches at the ongoing African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five Youth Games, coach of the Namibia girl’s U-17 team, Frederick Sitali has however said that he is happy with his team’s performance.

Namibia was among the three teams taking part in the football tournament alongside Zambia and Botswana after many countries pulled out of the competition.

Namibia lost 2-0 to Zambia in their opening match played at Sestoto Stadium on Sunday before going down 2-1 to Botswana on Monday, resulting in Namibia bowing out of the competition.

Sitali who was also making his first appearance as coach at regional level such as the AUSC Region Five was deputised by Brave Gladiators assistant coach Mamie Kason and coach of Galz & Goals Football academy Ronnie Hoxobeb.

Namibia needed to beat Botswana to secure a medal, which could have seen Namibia playing in the final against Zambia.

Speaking to Confidente Sport, Sitali said one of the reasons why his team did not progress to the final of the competition was due to lack of adequate training adding that even though his team made mistakes that cost them, the future however looks bright.

“We had about three weeks’ training camp which is not enough. This is my first time to coach at this level and it was a good experience for me, and note that all these players –with the exception of one- are playing at this highest level for the first time.

“I know people only look at the outcome but for me I am happy with the players’ performances. The team played well but it is just some mistakes that cost us. These girls have learned a lot and now know what it’s like to play at such level against other countries as many of these girls of ours are from different regions,” he said.

Sitali also said that if given another opportunity to coach the team, results will be different after admitting that AUSC Region Five competition was an eye opener for him.

He also urged those spearheading football in particular at the Namibia Football Association (NFA) to constantly keep records of the players by following their development at club levels.

“If I am given another opportunity the result will be different. My suggestion to the NFA is to improve when calling up the players for camp by calling them up early so that the players and the coaches have enough time to plan. Instead of these players just going back to their homes the association should make sure that they monitor the players’ progress at clubs because some are still young and will be eligible to play in this competition again,” said Sitali.

The regional youth games which started on December 3 and end on December 12 are being held in Maseru, Lesotho.

AUSC Region Five Youth Games encourage young sportspersons to develop towards stages where they can in future represent their nations and the whole region.

Namibia last hosted the youth games in 2006.