Eagerly Awaiting Bafana Bafana

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Carlos Kambaekwa Last weekend’s activities in our beautiful game left me with no other choice than to comment on football matters again, and yours truly is now obliged to pen down a few lines about the beautiful game – after all, football is a religion on the African continent and Namibia is no exception to this rule. As widely predicted, Namibia’s ill-prepared Warriors were given a rude awakening by minnows Seychelles, a country with a tiny population of around about 80 000 inhabitants. I must admit I had very little squabbles with the team selection on the day and it looked like the somewhat rusty Warriors were going to roll all over the tiny islanders until veteran defender George Hummel found himself at sea for the opening goal through some sloppy marking, which can be likened to schoolboy errors in the business of words. I’ve said it last week and I’m going to repeat it again, we must not resort to finger-pointing and rather rally behind Ben Bamfuchile and his Technical Team, because from the look of things, the soft spoken Zambian national appears to have been in this game for sometime. If one looked at his tactical game plan and substitutions, there is an indication the brother is well acquainted with the finer tricks of the beautiful game. However, I must admit I was not comfortable with the omission of Richard Gariseb from the starting lineup – in my opinion, “Ou Rich” is currently Namibia’s most valuable footballer and the fact that he was chosen Players Player of the year during his first stint as a professional with Bidvest Wits is clear testimony to this. At times I seriously think Namibian football need to going back to the drawing board because as much as we have seen changes in the Technical Department – not much have changed in the playing personnel, something which is becoming worrisome. There is a sickening culture in Namibian football that every palooka who plies his football trade beyond the Namibian borders must be Brave Warriors material – that is total crap and we need to do away with this practice as a matter of fact. A good number of our foreign legion are spent forces and some of them are not even featuring regularly for their respective teams – let alone curving a place on the bench because they spend a good chunk of their time either on the treatment table or in the stands. But the fundamental question that needs to be addressed is; do some of these players still enjoy representing their country or are they just jumping on the opportunity of national call-ups to hook up with relatives, and most importantly as it emerged last weekend, their motjies on a kind of fully paid-up working holiday? And while I’m not disputing the potential of certain players such as former Blue Waters hard shooting left winger Sydney Plaatjies – it was clearly evident the boy’s fitness level invited some kind of debate and should never have been considered for selection in the first place. Anyway, when last did he taste leather in competitive action – the little info at our disposal is the usual half-baked articles in the papers that the player signed for Cosmos, but alas, there is a huge difference between being on the books of a particular club and turning out for that outfit week in and week out. It’s with great regret that some players are reported to have broken the team’s curfew and chose the company of Tswala and Motjies after the Warriors’ umpteenth early exit from the Cosafa Castle Cup on Saturday, instead of plotting Malawi’s downfall for the meaningless third place play-off the day after to salvage some lost pride. Although I do not wish to be judgmental on this case, I personally think a player like Razzie Tjikuzu, is pushing his luck too far, because he has developed a habit of showing total disrespect to the Namibian nation and has time and again proved to be a troublesome fellow. It’s also very unfortunate the talented young prospect Letu Shatumwenye has found himself embroiled in the company of these bad eggs and missed the chance to win a couple of more friends with another fine display after his faultless showing against the Seychelles. Brra Letu, leave the Haya Water of Moag and Motjies to adults for the time being and concentrate on your blossoming football career – you have a great future ahead of you provided you stay within the confines of an aspiring professional footballer. Nevertheless, I must doff my Korrie for Bamfuchile for the way he handled the whole fiasco by pardoning the culprits, because I strongly believe any form of punishment measures should always seek to rehabilitate offenders rather than eliminate. In the meantime, I’m tempted to believe the behaviour of players could to a certain extent be attributed to the chaotic situation at the top hierarchy of our national sport because if the head is not fixed accordingly, the bottom would have no alternative than to encode what it is being fed with from upstairs. Lastly, from what I’ve seen Namibia possesses the potential to become a force in African football again – provided we start getting our ducks in the row and do proper planning ahead of international participation. The arrival of Bafana Bafana for an international friendly on the 16th of next month is just what the good doctor ordered since Namibia is in dire need of match practice ahead of her marathon assault in the 2008 African Cup of Nation qualifiers. Namibia needs to play regularly against decent opposition and should avoid a repeat of last week’s chaotic preparation which saw the team being pitted against a combined team from the men in uniform, and to wind down its preparations with another meaningless friendly would be kickers. It was really good to see the local folk coming out in large numbers to support the team and I hope this trend continues when we engage South Africa’s Bafana Bafana on the 16th of August. It’s time to call quits for now, so until next Friday, I’m off and enjoy your weekend.