Brave Warriors Back to Business

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By Confidence Musa WINDHOEK Eight years ago, the Brave Warriors had the nation gripped in victory fever before a match but all that disappeared with a string of poor results, which saw the nation descending from the peaks of excitement to the lowlands of frustration. However, all that should change with this weekend’s upcoming Cosafa match as a new-look Brave Warriors are in town. That ’98 ship has sailed. A bevy of potent offensive talent has just changed base from the Katutura headquarters to the Kalahari Sands Hotel preparing to mincemeat the Seychelles, Malawi and Zambia, this Saturday. To make it history, coach Ben Bamfuchile has drawn up a multi-ethnic reserve of players, represented by a new multicultural paradigm where everybody gets along, unlike the rioting that characterized the past five squads. Besides, the Cosafa tournament takes football where it belongs, to the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura. It might be the dumping place of surplus population but the mother of all ghettos will now bring back the Brave Warriors’ excruciating thirst for victory. Although match fever has been slow in gripping the nation, soon the ubiquitous Brave Warriors’ jerseys, adorned taxi ranks, billboards and the faÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚§ade of the Zoo Park and the famous flyer at Home Affairs will be engulfed by the boys-coming-back-to-town tag. Victory over the Seychelles will even see more seriousness from the fans and the society when the Nations Cup qualifiers start in October. Even the Sam Nujoma Stadium will be after its own history. This will be the first time that the Brave Warriors will be using the stadium, and as if the gods meant it to be – the SNS turns one in three weeks’ time. And what a birthday present, if the Brave Warriors beat Zambia or Malawi on Sunday! Winner between the Brave Warriors and Seychelles plays winner between Zambia and Malawi, on Sunday. History will be re-written if the Brave Warriors make the SNS a traditional hunting ground and cast voodooist beliefs against all visiting teams. Winning both matches will underline that the team will have undertaken a feat of not losing on home soil. Besides, on its inauguration last August, none of the six teams on the exhibition-show managed to score through the southern-end goal post. All the four goals, (Civics 1-0 Ramblers) (Pirates 1-0 Stars), (Black Africa 1-1 Tigers), were scored through one goal end on that day. Now, the Brave Warriors need their own piece of history. More harrowing for our opponents is the fact that the Seychelles are not on the football map. What would make the Brave Warriors the laughing stock would be to be beaten at home by a team which comes from an athletics and women basketball background. The Seychelles had been left out of regional competition because of the country’s religious beliefs which do not yoke it with the Castle Lager tag on the tournament. But Ben Bamfuchile has every trick in the book that Zambia’s three-week old coach Patrick Phiri might think of, in case Zambia proceeds to meet Namibia in the final. Bamfuchile had announced his first Zambian squad when he signed for the Brave Warriors and had a father figure relationship with most of the players. Malawi might be resurging but if they make it to the Sunday final, Bamfuchile has much knowledge of the Flames coach Burkhardt Ziese, having been his understudy with the Zambia national team. It’s not one of those famous football battles that bring much emotion on the terraces, but for one reason, first impressions count. The fact that this is the first operation of a team that seeks to make it to 2010 South Africa, is more emotional .The supporters’ union has not been founded as yet, but one is likely to hear the voices of Black Africa, Pirates, Igwe Inyama, Civics and SKW musos fighting to find a common tune to chant national victory anthems. It’s no secret that it being a Cosafa match, some fans will be more content with the company of an alcoholic beverage tightly clutched to their breast. Unfortunately the SNS is not user friendly for some fans to sprawl on the lawn in intoxicated slumber. The storm drains have been left open by the municipality. Despite, the Seychelles’ poor record, Bamfuchile will not be convinced that there are no crocodiles because the water is calm. All the players in the dressing room have been models of consistency at their clubs, and Henrico Botes will return to the forgotten Land of the Brave to continue from where he left off, in the last Cosafa edition. Hartman Toromba and George Hummel will be more comfortable if Turkish based Razundara Tjikuzu and German based Collin Benjamin make it to camp on time. It is still a toss of the coin which defense Bamfuchile will use. All the defenders at his disposal are world class. Jamunovandu Ngatjizeko, Gerry Keister , Jeremiah Mbaisako Sedekia Haukambe are all in camp. With Heini Isaaks, Letu Shatimwene, Brian Gurirab, Nelson Akwenye and Rudi Louw all vying for the penetrating positions, Namibia has a pool of potential match winners. All the players are a product of the Burkina Faso austere era – fast, pacey and sufficiently stylish , blessed with the guile to run at defenders and do flashy back heals, as they watched the ’98 Brave Warriors do. They are all better with their feet than their bodies could tell, with a combination of sublime individual skill and collective fluidity able to create a whole that is both beautiful to watch and devastatingly successful. It’s a pity Germany-based Oliver Riser won’t be part of this maiden virgin voyage to history together with Katutura darling Mohammed Ouseb who are both part of Bamfuchile’s plans but are unfortunately nursing injuries.