Windhoek – Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti has described the current lack of premiership football in the country as deeply worrying and says it poses a serious threat to the preparations of the national team.
Mannetti is chiefly concerned with Namibia’s upcoming assignments against Guinea Bissau and Zimbabwe.
The Brave Warriors are set to face Zimbabwe in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers in July in the second round, with the winner to face either Lesotho or the Comoros en route to Kenya 2018.
Also, the Brave Warriors have a tight 2019 AFCON qualifiers schedule, as Namibia is in Group-K with regional rivals Zambia, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, with the top team guaranteed a place in the finals.
With the Namibia Premier League (NPL) dormant since May last year, Mannetti has been left scratching his head as he faces a selection dilemma.
“I’m very worried. It’s almost 10 months that players have not been active.
“We, as the technical team, get paid to sometimes work under unorthodox situations and it’s our jobs to fix this and make sure the players are ready,” said the 2015 COSAFA Cup winning coach, who also guided the Brave Warriors to a COSAFA Cup Plate final last year.
“At the moment it doesn’t look good. We first have to train our boys and get them active, then maybe we can give a good account of ourselves,” he added.
Apart from the African engagements, Namibia still has the COSAFA Cup to compete in during the winter season and with the current crop of players at his disposal heavily inactive, the Brave Warriors prospects look somewhat bleak.
Despite a lack of game time for most of the players, Namibia is still in the top 100 countries on the latest Fifa Ranking, tied in 99th place with Finland.
Namibia’s foreign-based players include:
• Deon Hotto – Bloemfontein Celtics.
• Peter Shalulile and Chris Katjiukua – Highlands Park.
• Willem Mwedihanga and Benson Shilongo – Platinum Stars.
• Hendrick Somaeb, Denzyl Haoseb and Ananias Gebhardt – Jomo Cosmos.
• Goalkeeper Vigil Vries and Max Mbaeva – Maritzburg United and Golden Arrows.
• Absalom Iimbondi – Mochundi Centre Chiefs in Botswana.
• Wangu Gome – lack of game time at Bidvest Wits
Brave Warriors’ home-based players include:
• Ronald Ketjijere – African Stars, but inactive.
• Dennis Ngueza – African Stars, but inactive.
• Da Costa Angula – no club at present.
• Benjamin Nenkavu – Unam, but also inactive.
• Ikuaterua Keimuine and Terberius Lombard – Tura Magic, but inactive.