So, our national senior football team, the ‘Brave Warriors’ was for the umpteenth time eliminated in the group stages of the Afcon, underway in the Land of the Pharaohs, as boys are being separated from the men with the continental showpiece now heading towards the home straight.
Football is a game of emotions and yours truly fully understands the anger prevailing amongst the nation in the face of perennial failure to break the duck and wangle ourselves out of the four-team group stage.
Of course, the author is a bit disappointed, and rightly so given the effort from the boys and the team’s overall performance.
In our midst, we have two different sets of football analysts – one from a point of having played the game experiencing first-hand the agony of losing and ecstasy of victory. The other group have their eyes firmly casted on winning at all costs without considering the strength of the opponents.
Well, yours truly defends and respect the views of everybody who feels obliged to air their views, vent their uncontrolled anger or use words their mothers never told them to utter recklessly in public.
Despite my advanced age, yours truly felt an obligation as a patriotic Namibian to fight off the impolite freezing weather conditions to shift in front of the television set to follow the Warriors’ third assault in Africa’s biggest showpiece.
In the opening match that saw the Namibian amateurs push one of the tourney’s favourites, the Atlas Lions of Morocco, all the way matching the North African giants pound for pound in almost every aspect of the match, one thing caught my attention.
The team played with confidence and managed to keep the marauding Moroccans at bay until the unfortunate last minute own goal by striker Ita Keimuine.
To worsen matters Keimuine, who came on as a late substitute conceded the set piece before redirecting the resultant set piece, wrong-footing Loydt Kazapua, and went on to find his name in the referee’s crime sheet for rough play – obviously in his desperate bid to make up for the own goal.
What shocked me to the core was the reaction from those watching the game live on television back home in the comfort of their homes. The poor boy was castigated through uncool tribal remarks while his poor old lady was not to be spared the rod, as some of her sacred body parts were laid bare.
When the team wins it’s a Namibian victory but when it loses, a certain tribe is made the scapegoat. We should refrain from this entitlement mentality and unite for a better nation.
Coming back to the team’s overall performance, I point-blankly refuse to fault anyone, including the technical staff, for our failure to manufacture good results but looking at the bigger picture, Namibia were pitted in a very tough group – hence it was duped the group of death.
Our backline, and here I’m obliged to single out veteran defender Larry Horaeb, about whom I had serious reservations regarding his inclusion when I saw the starting line-up. The new center back pairing of Nyambe and Haoseb, while the midfield, solidly spearheaded by ever present ‘Captain Fantastic’ Stigga Ketjijere, was brilliant.
However, if there was one player who stood head and shoulders above the rest, I will bet my last penny on ‘Shoes’ Shitembi while Hanamub also came to the show. Loydt Kazapua was up there with the very best and could have easily qualified for the golden gloves of the tournament had Namibia gone through to the knockout stages of the continental showpiece. Both Shalulile and Hotto had an average journey by their own standards.
Overall, the boys were prepared to die with their boots on for their beloved motherland but somehow faded in the closings stages in all three matches and must learn to manage games when the situation demands.
The future certainly looks bright but football followers should by all means do away with what seems to have become an Institutional Tribal Discrimination. I rest my case.
2019-07-05 10:31:03 17 days ago