By Carlos Kambaekwa So, the local football starving folk would finally be able to run an eye over some real action on the pitch after having been confined to their television sets for the recently concluded month-long World Cup finals in Germany. The national football team, better known as the “Brave Warriors”, return to action this weekend after their self-imposed exile from competitive football when the preliminary round of the annual regional Cosafa Castle Cup gets under way in the capital tomorrow. The new look Warriors’ outfit goes into their first competitive match after the team was unceremoniously bundled out by Botswana in the corresponding fixture last year. It’s an open secret that newly appointed coach, Ben Bamfuchile, faces a fire of baptism in his first assignment – firstly, the Zambian national has inherited a disjointed ageing team which has gone on a winless streak over a good number years. Secondly, despite the fact that Bamfuchile and his technical team had ample time to prepare the team, his charges seriously lack match fitness since we cannot fool ourselves into believing the Warriors are on the warpath after hammering an Invitational Eleven from the National Defence Force. And to add more misery to an already sketchy training schedule, the Warriors wrapped up their preparation in the most bizarre style with a meaningless friendly against a bunch of social footballers from Telecom, after the network entity had donated a couple of T-shirts and caps to the team ahead of their assignment in the Cosafa Cup – Ja, don’t bite the hand that feeds you !!. A month-long extensive training camp was kamstig set up to sharpen the rusty Warriors’ arrows, but alas, the ultimate measurement of the team’s strength can certainly not be judged on the basis of some insignificant runaway victories against mediocre opponents. Thirdly, Soccer House’s failure to organize decent opponents for the idling Warriors ahead of tomorrow’s clash could be tantamount to self-cannibalization – and in the business of fairness, let us not start looking for scapegoats when the going gets tough. If tradition is anything to go by, goalposts are to be shifted and the competence of the coach is likely to be placed under the microscope – this exercise is total crap and should be discouraged by all means because not even Alex Fergusson nor Italy’s World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi would have been able to transform the fortunes of any struggling team under such conditions. Finally, Soccer House should have been more proactive and organized a couple of friendly matches against decent opposition, and in this vein I mean anybody from the African continent or elsewhere as long as it is in the form of a national team – surely not a combined team from the men in uniform. Italy won the coveted World Cup through proper preparation en route to Germany and one of their opponents included the host nation which they hammered 4-1 to give them a morale boosting confidence, and let me honestly tell you something, the Italians could have easily played Juventus or AC Milan, never mind the likes of Inter and Roma – these opponents have what it takes to give the Azzuris a good run for their money but logic simply dictates otherwise. Let me conclude by saying that I strongly believe the Warriors have the requirements to see off Seychelles, most probably not in the same fashion as we did a couple of years ago when the likes of Slice Ouseb, Congo Hindjou, Lolo Goraseb and Ronnie Kanalelo taught the boys from the tiny island an assortment of football tricks with a splendid display at what was once duped the slaughter house for visiting teams. I hope Bamfuchile and his troops will bring us tears of joy and the Independence Stadium would no longer resemble the sight of a graveyard after conclusion of business on Sunday. And while many critics have made it their business to have a field day after every single Brave Warriors’ misfortune – let all football lovers adopt a holistic approach and vigorously support the boys from the onset and not only to resurface at the other end spitting piles of stingy witties on a journey we have never been part of. On a rather sad parting shot, let me conclude by saying the past week almost had yours truly under seal, firstly the brother was made to walk the plank from his slaving cage in unceremonious fashion, followed by news that my musical mentor Immanuel “Baby” Tjirimuje had gone to meet his maker. I decided to retreat to the comfort of my Pozzie in Khomasdal’s Dawid Goeiman Street, to have some peace of mind, but troubles followed me all the way with the subsequent whispers that another great son of the soil was no more. I’m referring to the passing of one of the most talented footballers to have ever come from Namibian shores, Norbertus “Norries” Goraseb. As fate had it – I had the privilege to rub shoulders with the nimble footed boy from the South on the field of play, and I can unashamedly relate that Norries possessed football skills second to none. I cannot really recall whether it was a premonition – but somehow, I felt obliged to make a quick stopover at Tses, after returning from the rain-soaked first leg matches of the MTC NFA Cup in Keetmanshoop earlier this year. It took me slightly more than five minutes to locate the frail looking former Orlando Pirates ball wizard and though the immediate impression suggested the brother had fallen on bad times – he appeared to have lost none of his nostalgia and was his usual self, cracking jokes as he always preferred to call me by my real name Eben. After a few hugs and of course a good chunk of leftovers from our S&T finding its way towards his direction – we left the brother in high spirits, not knowing it was going to be the last time we would say goodbye to each other. Norries, Brra Babes, Namibia has lost two great chaps with exceptional talent and I must confess I was blessed to have a close association with both these men. And to you Babes, your musical virtuosity has undoubtedly left a mark on the untold history of Namibian music. My beloved brothers – may your souls rest in eternal peace in one piece until we re-unite again, upstairs. Dear readers, let me sign off because my ageing fingers are trembling like a faulty vibrator as I’m tickling the ivories of my keyboard right now.
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