Carlos Kambaekwa I’m no saint, but I serve the sport-loving public as best I can. Perseverance, by definition, is the continuity in a course of action in spite of difficulties or with little or no indication of success in the offing. In the context of our national football team’s somewhat lukewarm performance in recent years, every Joe – and never mind poor Robbie – might just as well be pardoned for getting gatvol with the Brave Warriors’ near-team tag when the situation demands the opposite. After a self-inflicted drought of almost three years from the international scene, Namibian football has been thrown another lifeline when the once-feared Warriors were pitted against the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Ethiopia in a relatively easy group match, Group-J Qualifiers for the 2008 African Nations Cup Finals in Ghana. The fast-improving Warriors, now under the tutelage of Zambian import ‘Big Ben’, narrowly lost their opening group match against DRC away in Kinshasa after having taken a one goal cushion midway through the second half before succumbing to a terrible goalkeeping error. When the Warriors confront unfashionable Ethiopia at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, north of Katutura, tomorrow afternoon, the most hard-to-please local football folklore would in all likelihood settle for nothing less than a victory. With the quality of players assembled for this particular clash and home-ground advantage, there should be no excuse for another lukewarm performance – the nation deserves something better this time around and, being a real township boy, yours truly can assure you the football-starving nation from the kassie has worn extremely thin of patience. It’s now up to the selected players and the technical staff to lift the spirits of the nation with a comprehensive win either by hook or by crook – in all honesty, Namibia has no business playing second fiddle to war-torn nations such as Ethiopia and the DRC when it comes to chasing leather. The Warriors need to collect maximum points from tomorrow’s encounter if they are to have any mathematical chance of qualifying for the 28th edition of the continental showpiece. The return of injury-prone goalkeeper, Arnold Subeb, is like manna from heaven after the acrobatic net-minder was laid low by a career-threatening knee injury. The goalkeeping department has been quite a handful for the selectors since the unceremonious departure of Ronnie “the Magnet” Kanalelo. Jibbos to Ground Prima Donnas I was not surprised at all by the news earlier this week that football’s bad boy, Razzie Tjikuzu, is at it again following his apparent point-blank refusal to extend an apology for breaking the team curfew during the COSAFA Cup regional tournament a few months ago. The boy is a no-gooder and obviously has a past, so let us all hope in the spirit of the game that we’ve just heard the last of him as far as his international career is concerned. After all, whenever turning out for the Brave Warriors, the ebony-skinned lad has been a pale shadow of the promising footballer we have been watching on the Telly with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen. The wayward defender had several brushes with a number of clubs in Germany for his un-togetherness which include, among others, a roving eye for well-shaped legs from the opposite sex, fondness for the Haya Water of Moag and, above all, his inability to seek the comfort of his bedroom whenever the situation demands. Now I’m led to believe the boy has ostensibly found a new home somewhere in Turkey; well your guess is as good as mine!! – remember the likes of Liverpool’s livewire goal-grabber, Stan Collymore,.Kaizer Chiefs problem child, Jabu Pule aka Mahlangu, and West Ham’s Paolo de Canio, to mention but a few ? These were great players with an abundance of talent destined for the bigger stage, but their unbecoming style of mingling with fellow human beings only took them as far as the dustbin. A Mouth Watering Sporting Menu on the Cards Whilst on the subject of the beautiful game, I would like to urge the football-loving public to turn up in large numbers for the National Under-23 Team’s second leg Olympic Qualifier on Sunday. The boys have a very good chance of erasing the one-goal deficit against their star-studded South African opponents on Sunday and, judging from their gutsy performance in the first leg, the boys sure have what it takes to turn the tables come Sunday. Across town, the National Rugby Fifteen welcomes Tunisia in a do-or-die African World Cup Qualifier at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek on Saturday. After suffering back-to-back defeats away to Kenya and Morocco respectively, Namibia can ill afford another setback when they take on the formidable Tunisians, because a good win could enhance our chances for a third consecutive appearance at the World Cup Finals next year. Let us all hope – in the name of local rugby – that all those brandy-and-boerewors-bellied chaps out there would be kind enough and exchange their Currie Cup menu for an exciting 80 minutes of real action, albeit temporarily – after all, is local not supposed to be Lekker. Dear readers, I know I’m not a saint. All I do is try to serve the sport-loving public to the best of my ability, with all my shortcomings – with difficulty – time and again. So, until next Friday, I’m off! And watch this space for more analyses on the eagerly-awaited upcoming NFA National Elections.
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