By John Tuerijama
ACTION-starved football fans who have been deprived of top-flight football and the traditional rivalry of the domestic elite league can look forward to a thrilling encounter when the Brave Warriors take on West African powerhouse Ghana in the annual Dr Hage Geingob Cup in November. Namibia Football Association (NFA) head of competition, Titus Kunamwene, did not want to disclose the name of the invited team when asked, and said only that they considered teams from all over Africa, and not necessarily from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc. “It’s surely going to be a good surprise for many football fans.” Confidente has meanwhile learned from an impeccable source within the football fraternity that a decision has been made, and that in November the legendary Black Stars of Ghana are expected here to face the Brave Warriors. Last year the senior national team under the mentorship of seasoned coach Ricardo Mannetti hammered Zimbabwe 3-1 at the fully packed Sam Nujoma Stadium to claim the coveted Cup. In that encounter Brave Warriors scorers against a hapless Zimbabwean side were Hendrik Somaeb and wonder-boy Peter Shalulile. But Namibian football fans have had little to see in terms of international friendly matches in recent months, which the NFA blames on a sore lack of funding. The annual Geingob Cup also comes at a time when the Brave Warriors desperately need more international friendlies, as the team has its eyes on the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals to be played in Cameroon. MOGANE WEIGHS IN Former Brave Warriors head coach Rusten Mogane, who in 1998 guided the national team to their first-ever AFCON showdown in Burkina Faso, spoke to Confidente about the Dr Hage Geingob Cup. He said it is an important tournament, as it honours the President, who is himself a former footballer and has a great passion for sport in general and soccer in particular. He further said that in the midst of the Brave Warriors’ ongoing struggle to qualify for the 2019 continental AFCON showpiece, the players need such international exposure. “Ghana is one of Africa’s top football playing nations, with exceptional players, and such international friendly matches with the top of the cream of the continent will now inspire Brave Warriors’ charges to [pull] up their socks as they want to be included in the team that will play Ghana.” He noted that Ghana is tactically and technically a very good side, though they might not feature all their top stars, but he was confident that Europe- based players might be roped in for the Sam Nujoma Stadium grand finale. “Ghana is highly rated in Africa and I must thank the organisers of the Dr Hage Geingob Cup for an excellent decision taken to bring in Ghana,” Mogane said, noting that it is important to look beyond SADC and consider Africa’s top footballing nations for this tournament. Mogane further said featuring such high-profile footballing nations will have local football lovers flocking to the stadium in numbers, and moreover, that the national team players would have to seriously fight for their positions and to firmly cement their places in the team. He said inviting Ghana would undoubtedly motivate players preparing in Maputo, Mozambique for the 2019 AFCON qualifying match this Saturday. The Brave Warriors will also take on Mozambique at the Sam Nujoma Stadium next Tuesday at 19h00. Mogane believes the Warriors are likely to do well on 16 October and book a place in Cameroon. He said high-level competition with top international teams is definitely a good recipe for raising the level of the local game. Namibia has become one of the top footballing nations in the SADC region, and the time has come to expose our players to more competitive international teams, he said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015