By Confidence Musariri A furore of mixed reactions from the footballing fraternity still hangs over the country as the Brave Warriors count down to its first-ever FIFA-sanctioned match in three years. Prior to qualifying for the sweet-to-recall 1998 Nations Cup in Burkina Faso, the Brave Warriors played a total of 21 games which included friendly matches, the Cosafa, the World Cup and the Nations Cup qualifiers which by then were not synchronized. This afternoon, the Brave Warriors will engage South African premiership pretenders, Jomo Cosmos, in another friendly. Under Bamfuchile’s school of thought, the Brave Warriors have played four games, scoring 5, conceding 9 in normal play in which the Zambian gaffer has won only one and drawn one. Below is what notable members of the football family had to tell the nation: Richard Starke: Cymot SKW& NFA Coach of the Year It is very important for our technical staff to sit together with all the local premiership coaches so that we have a common ground. All the departments of our team need to be worked on, but it is the strikers that need a real work-out. So far, we are playing the right system. My worry is that those guys in the technical team have not consulted us. Against DRC, we will be having professionals like Collin Benjamin and even those from South Africa. Congo Hindjou: Former Brave Warriors Captain We must start playing earnestly to win matches. Losing 5-0 to a local side is bad. Everyone wants to be in Ghana 2008 for the Nations Cup, and do you think DRC does not want to be there? How can we take 13 players in the training camp and play a competitive friendly without the professionals? At times, the logic amuses me. It will be difficult in DRC. However, let’s hope for the best. We have higher chances of getting a point in DRC. Lollo Goraseb: Former Skipper of the local Brave Warriors It’s a national level. The process is to develop the structures, which is what the Under-20s and Under-23s are doing. However, we must not build a national team; we must keep it. The Brave Warriors should be known for winning and not building. Paul Straumus: NFA Manager of the Year, Civics Remember that Mamelodi Sundowns are the defending champions of the best league in the region, and we didn’t have our foreign professionals. The match was a good preparatory game and signifies that we cannot compete in high-level competitions without professionals. Experience is vital, and it is slowly being exposed in our team. The performance against Bafana Bafana gives us hope for the future. It is also my hope that the foreign-based will turn up for the DRC match. I was in South Africa over the weekend, and the talk of the town there was that Namibia has jumped 30 places on the FIFA statistics, and that’s encouraging. All top sports channels there are now recognizing Namibia; especially on Supersport. So we have reached a breakthrough with this team. NFA Acting President John Muinjo We sent them there to prepare for the DRC encounter, and so the focus of everything that is happening now is the DRC game. CAF will seat tomorrow (today) to determine the political or ‘hostile’ condition of the DRC, but in soccer the situation will only become hostile if there is chaos at the airport. Although we all prefer fair play, it might be to our advantage if, as is reported, DRC professionals refuse to turn up for the match because of the said violence. But one should know that violence in Africa is usually reported more than it is on the ground. In any case, we are busy recruiting a team from scratch, and I know a lot is expected. We need a lot of friendly matches to reach that momentum we were in, in 1998. Against Sundowns, we should understand the gap that the team has if we don’t have our professionals. It is best to play such clubs who have cohesion. Shepherd Murape: Blue Waters and Former Brave Warriors coach It was wrong to play against a club side, especially after playing South Africa’s national team. This 5-0 result dents the confidence that was there when we held Bafana Bafana.It was better to play the club first and then the national team afterwards. The trick for DRC now is to become acclimatized to weather conditions for our players to adjust to a full-house that is against them and to get rid of ‘big-name’ fright. DRC has big names like Shabanie Nonda and Lomana Lua Lua, and our players should not be frightened by their presence. I predict that whatever we get there, it shall be good for us in the return leg. We can get a draw in Kinshasa, especially judging by the performance of the squad two weeks ago. Any result will put us on a home advantage in the return leg.
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