It never rains, it only pours for the bad luck-laden Brave Warriors camp, with the news fleeting out of Football House painting a nasty picture of indiscipline amongst unruly playing personnel.
Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti has spelled out the groundrules, following another breach of team’s protocol by defender Chris Katjiukua over the weekend while Willy Stephanus goes to Vietnam for trials.
The latest news reaching the New Era Sport crew is that reliable Brave Warriors and Lamontville Golden Arrows (PSL) defender Chris has found his name entered on coach Bucksy Mannetti’s crime sheet after the purple-haired centre back broke the team’s curfew.
Katjiukua missed the Warriors’ 1-0 triumph against visiting Niger in the 2017 AFCON Qualifier in Windhoek on Saturday through suspension. He was given a few days off during the team’s preparation for that match, as he was not going to be in the match day squad as result of his unavailability.
Although he was expected to back on Friday, Katjiukua resolved to take an extended and unsanctioned leave – only to resurface on Monday – three days later than the prescribed return date. Mannetti was not impressed.
“I allowed him to attend to some personal issues, but he failed to report for camp as agreed. He only arrived in camp on Monday morning and to me this is unacceptable, because he could not provide us with valid reasons as to why he arrived late.
“This type of behaviour does not augur well for team morale and I demand from my senior players to lead by example so as to encourage other squad members to respect team protocol. Players must demonstrate respect towards the nation at all times”, Mannetti insisted.
Meanwhile, the Warriors were dealt a major blow with the withdrawal of inspirational winger Awillo Stephanus. The latter requested to be released from camp to enable him attend trials in Vietnam. Stephanus is no stranger to controversy. During the same time last year he was part of the Warriors’ CHAN side, featuring in the 1st leg against Zambia only to disappear for the 2nd leg.
“He (Stephanus) informed the technical staff about his intentions and we agreed to release him. We cannot have players in camp, who are not mentally committed 100 percent to the team. We must work with the players we have and [who are] ready to play. So between now and the 25th June, we do not want any distractions or ill-discipline in this team.”
The Warriors will now shift their attention to focus on preparations for their Cosafa Cup defense and will host Malawi tomorrow night in a warm-up match at Sam Nujoma Stadium at 19h30. Tickets are available at Football House and Computicket outlets for N$30 each.
The Warriors conclude their preparation for the Cosafa Cup when they travel to Lusaka this week to take on Zambia at the Nkoloma Stadium on Sunday.