‘Those who have served for long must go’ – Shimooshili …. return of Franco Cosmos mooted

Home National ‘Those who have served for long must go’ – Shimooshili …. return of Franco Cosmos mooted
‘Those who have served for long must go’ – Shimooshili …. return of Franco Cosmos mooted

Namibia Football Association (NFA) president Robert Shimooshili did not mince his words when he called for long-serving personnel within the association to step aside, and make way for fresh talent. 

He was speaking candidly with this publication, addressing various ‘corridor gossips’ within the NFA.

One of them is the speculation that the technical team headed by Collin Benjamin, may be overhauled following their recent participation in the Fifa World Cup African qualifiers against Liberia and Tunisia in South Africa. 

Sources indicate that these qualifiers might have been the last for Benjamin’s team. However, he appears to be secure in his position due to his ongoing contract with the NFA, which has a year remaining.

Call for change

Shimooshili clarified that while he does not intend to dismantle the team entirely, he believes it is time for those who have served long to move on. This call for change extends across all levels, including both the male and female national teams. The president emphasised the need for a rotation of personnel to provide opportunities for a broader range of Namibians.

Individual targets

Highlighting specific individuals, Shimooshili pointed to Ronnie Kanalelo, the assistant coach of the Brave Warriors, who has been in his role since 2006. “The likes of Kanalelo have served the team well, but he should consider moving up to a technical director position,” he said. 

He stressed that the NFA should not be limited to employing people from specific geographical areas, but should offer opportunities to everyone in Namibia.

Reaction from Kanalelo

Responding to Shimooshili’s remarks, Kanalelo expressed his understanding of the president’s intentions, but also highlighted the challenges. “The president is arrogant in his approach. I did not place myself in this position; I was asked to assist by (Ricardo) Mannetti and Benjamin. When Benjamin took over, I was considering offers from two South African clubs, but chose to stay. It’s the head coach’s prerogative to pick his assistants, and the NFA leadership needs to understand that. Also, my expertise lies in coaching, not in an administrative position,” explained Kanalelo.

He further criticised the current NFA leadership, accusing them of being anti-football. He noted reductions in technical staff appearance fees and winning bonuses, and the stance from the association that coaches should not earn more than players.

Last man standing 

Shimooshili also mentioned Cyril Tim Isaacs, a long-serving member of the NFA, who has adapted through numerous changes within the organisation. Isaacs, who has held various roles from team manager to office administrator, is currently the national and international logistics’ officer. 

“There was a lot of chaos at the NFA. People were just occupying positions, and it has now been restructured. There must be rotation. Many qualified Namibians should have the chance to contribute. This is not personal; it’s about positive change and serving the nation,” added Shimooshili.

Return of Franco Cosmos

Addressing another significant issue, he spoke about the potential return of Franco Cosmos to the NFA. Cosmos, who was dismissed by the NFA Normalisation Committee in April 2021 after being found guilty on several charges, has been offered a position as director of membership compliance and legal affairs, effective 1 July, contingent on him not appealing his case which he lost in court. It is not clear when the termination date of the new offer is.

“It’s not my job to appoint people, but we seek mutual settlements. For argument’s sake, if Cosmos wins his case, we must negotiate. The SG post is occupied, so the only available position is director of membership compliance and legal affairs. We must serve everyone,” added Shimooshili, dismissing rumours of a preferential ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between him and Cosmos, with a source claiming that they both come from the Blue Waters’ clique. 

“These are just stories and wishes of people. They like to politicise everything,” said Shimooshili. 

Cosmos did not return calls to confirm if he was indeed taking up the offer.

Warriors’ payment settled

Shimooshili then confirmed that the Warriors have received their share of the Africa Cup of Nations’ prize money. 

“We paid all the players before they went into camp for the Fifa World Cup African qualifiers. The matter is settled,” he stated. 

Shimooshili announced in April this year that the senior national team would get N$4,1 million (27%) of the N$15 million received from the Confederation of African Football.

A month earlier, the Brave Warriors, through lawyer Kadhila Amoomo, issued a letter to the NFA, demanding the N$15 million prize money following their advancement to the round of 16 at Afcon. The players asserted their entitlement to these funds, stating that it is reward money for reaching the stages, while the NFA contends it belongs to the association, and not entirely to the players.