FOLLOWING my interview with the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Secretary General, Barry Rukoro, one would conclude that it’s a shame that we expect the Brave Warriors to book a place at 0the 2019 African Nations Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals pencilled for Cameroon. I was shocked and dismayed to learn that the Brave Warriors’ preparations for the continental football showdown only depends on the meagre N$3 million annual budget from the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC). How do we expect the boys to make the finals if preparations for 2019 campaign fall short of reaching the expectations? I have learned that players are not provided with much needed nutritional diet for their physical fitness. It is further shocking that the N$3 million annual grant from the NSC is not only meant to cater for the Brave Warriors alone but also for other six national teams and that includes the women national teams. We are quick to criticise when the boys do not make the finals, yet resources to ensure international friendly matches are not made available. I have also learned that a request was made by the Lesotho Football Association for an international friendly match in Maseru before the next AFCON qualifiers but due to lack of financial resources the match could not materialise. What are we truly doing to ourselves? I mean we all know that the Brave Warriors are going to campaign for the 2019 AFCON finals, which is a continental obligation, and fully aware that failure to honour such an international engagement would automatically mean losing the Confederation of African Football (CAF) membership. So why did the national football body not engage stakeholders to come up with sufficient budget for the preparations of the team? With football, netball and rugby having been classified as national sport codes, how the heck are these sport codes expected to go all-out and compete satisfactorily at international level. The same scenario that Ricardo Mannetti faced during the 2018 CHAN campaign is repeating itself. What have we learned from that? How much is earmarked for the senior national team is not known. Yet, the boys must at all costs make it to the finals and Mannetti, as per his contractual agreement, must do whatever it takes to accomplish that. Really? Who are we kidding? Here we have a reluctant private sector that is not willing to fund the national teams while individual football clubs are also struggling to get sponsors. The private sector appears to be selective as well when it comes to sponsoring national teams. The Welwitschias are handsomely supported by the private sector. Just look at the branding of various companies at the Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium compared to the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura. It is heart breaking. There is no visible advert of any private company at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, an indication that these private companies are selective when it comes to sponsoring yet we all buy products they offer. I agree with the NFA Secretary General who said that sometimes it is best for the Brave Warriors not to qualify for the finals for the mere fact that doing so will result in the football association incurring unnecessary debt. The fact that football is categorised as one of the national codes; funding should be of utmost importance to ensure success. They say ‘action speak louder than words,’ With the Brave Warriors having been into the training camp for three weeks now with no resources, the NFA is still waiting funding from the NSC. I cannot, in all honesty, believe that we must have high expectations from the boys while we do little to help them succeed. I sincerely hope that come the next financial year, we will be informed of how much is budgeted for these three national codes; football, rugby and netball. G ood luck Mannetti!!
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