‘Gi’me the Job Seth,’ – Murape

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By Confidence Musariri Former national team coach and Blue Waters gaffer Shepherd Murape has submitted his CV for the vacant Brave Warriors hot seat. As the country is starting to make headlines across Africa and Europe for the revered coaching job, Murape says he now wants the top job after giving it some serious thought which might see him end his three-year romance with coastal giants Blue Waters. “I know a lot of coaches will hunt for such posts especially after the Nations Cup but something now tells me, I can make the grade,” said Murape. The 55-year-old Zimbabwean-born coach was Namibia’s first coach after independence when the Brave Warriors played Madagascar in their maiden appearance in the international arena. With Oupapa Shipanga as the team manager, Murape groomed the majority of players that were to represent the country five years later at the 1998 Burkina Faso Nations Cup. A recipient of various Coach of the Year awards in three southern African countries, Murape says he has the blessings of his paymaster at Blue Waters. “He has the national team at heart like any Namibian and has agreed to release me if the call comes,” said Murape, referring to the club owner, Hendrik Davids. Arguably the best paid coach in the land, Murape’s 20-year-old career on the bench started at Dynamos in Zimbabwe in the late eighties where he took the Harare giants to the quarterfinals of the African Cup (now African Champions League) then played on a knockout basis. His CV has a decorum of experience, having coached southern African sides, Orlando Pirates, Moroka Swallows, Amazulu, Manning Rangers and Black Leopards in his eight-year stint in South Africa. Quizzed on whether he would prefer working with a European coach, if he lands the job, Murape said: “It depends on the funds. I now know southern African football, the Namibian culture of football at large .The idea is to work with a coach who is flexible to have players from such alienated regions like Caprivi and the south.” Without any mind-boggling irregularity, Murape, between 1990 and 1993 also served as U-20 and U-23 coach for Namibia. On his return from South Africa in 2003, he turned down an NFA offer to lead the Brave Warriors in a Cosafa tie with Angola. “It was too early, then. Now I have achieved something and know the players better,” explains the coach who marooned the 2003-2004-league title at the coast with Blue Waters. However, Murape’s renewed sense of purpose will not be on a silver platter. Technical Director Seth Boois yesterday revealed that the NFA had received applications from France (two) and Germany (one), already. “The response has been slow but we expect it to increase in addition to the five who have handed in their CV’s,” said Boois. The NFA has specifically sent adverts to SAFA, Germany, England, Zambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Brazil and Nigeria – preferred zones of options. Boois revealed that the three Europeans to submit their CV’s are not famous coaches, as many would expect, and henceforth it is the return of Murape, a non-greenhorn at national level that catches attention, so far. Another foreign coach, former Zambian forward, Wedson ‘Super’ Nyirenda, has also faxed in his application. The 40-year-old Zanaco coach is also the current U-17 Chipolopolo mentor. A tactician of repute in African soccer, Nyirenda coached Zambian side Nchanga Rangers to the semis of the then CAF cup. He is a holder of a FIFA high level coaching certificate having been mentored by Phillip Troussier and England great Bedge Buryne. “I can bring Namibian football to its greatest heights if given the chance of drilling the team,” said Kaizer Chiefs’ 1994 top goal scorer in South Africa’s BP Top 8. The Zambian played alongside Kalusha Bwalya in his days before hanging up his boots in 1996.He made a name more as a player between 1988 and 1996 where he earned the Christian name, ‘Super’. Although no date has been set for the commencement of duty, Boois yesterday said that Orlando Pirates coach Brian Isaacks would be in charge of all invitational teams. The new coach would work with Brian until the assistant coach is appointed, so that we avoid changing the faces of players.” Boois revealed that at the moment, developmental programmes would continue and “whoever assumes this office should not come to develop the team but to coach the players because we are already ahead with development”. About three invitational friendlies are scheduled to be played before the Cosafa tournament this July and there are chances that the new coach might not be there for these friendlies. “The selection and interviewing shall be a long process,” said Boois who has forwarded the names of a panel of experts to the NFA president for approval. The panel will do the selection of the coach. Namibia is currently ranked 161 in the world and 39 in the continent and will play its first international match in the Cosafa tournament against Seychelles who are 176 in the world and 45 in Africa, on July 22.