WINDHOEK – He came, saw and conquered, the fairytale journey of Brave Warriors mentor Ricardo “Bucksey” Mannetti is a far cry from a rollercoaster.
The former Brave Warriors, Civics and Lightbody Santos’ (PSL) holding midfielder has made the Doubting Thomasses including the armchair critiques seat and eat humble pie when against all odds staked against him masterminded the Namibian amateurs to their third qualification for Africa’s showpiece with limited resources.
Appointed to the hot seat by former Namibia Football Association (NFA) President John Muinjo amidst doubts over his ability and international experience – the “Bethlehem boytjie” took the bull by the horn.
Mannetti turned the previously average squad into a winning combination which culminated in the historic Cosafa Cup triumph followed by breathtaking performances in the continental Chan Cup where Namibia reached the quarterfinals of Africa’s second tier competition – narrowly losing to hosts Morocco.
A teary Mannetti paid an emotional tribute to the man who showed confidence in his ability to take his motherland to the promised land of milk and honey.
“I was laterally thrown into the deep ocean, I did not even know whether I was going to swim and reach the other end or drown but you believed in me and I’m very grateful for that and thanks for the opportunity you have given me.”
Overwhelmed by emotions, the Warriors mentor pleaded with Muinjo to finish the journey they started together by making sure he goes to Egypt when Namibia makes her third appearance in the prestigious continental showpiece later this year.
“Please make sure you are in Egypt to witness your vision and conclude the thorny journey we started together, I would like to see you there,” pleaded Namibia’s most successful football coach internationally.