Windhoek - Namibia’s national football team will be starting the new season with uncertainty with the Namibia Football Association (NFA) appointing an interim coach while coach Ricardo Mannetti’s contract is still effective.
Mannetti, whose contract is only expected to end on July 31, will not be taking charge of the team in the first leg of the Confederations of African Football (CAF) African Nations Championship (CHAN) against Comoros Island on July 26.
Brave Warriors second assistant coach Collin Benjamin has refused to take charge of the team on interim basis saying that the NFA must rather give him a contract, describing the interim coach position for two games as “to stand in as a fireman”.
Bobby Samaria, the African Stars coach, has been appointed as the interim coach for the CHAN first leg and second leg on August 2.
International Federation of Association Football (FIFA)’s Normalisation Committee (NC) chairperson Hilda Basson-Namundjebo confirmed that the former Hamburg man turned down the interim position but said the team was not in crisis and they had plan B.
On Monday (July 15) Plan B was announced as Samaria accepted to take charge of the national team for two matches.
The position for head coach will be advertised after July 31 and the NC said Mannetti and Benjamin are all welcome to apply.
Meanwhile, Samaria told the NFA media team he first had to ask for blessings from the African Stars management before he accepted the offer.
“I accepted to serve the country in this capacity. I was frozen out for some time and now I have grown wiser and bolder to serve. Being part of the setup is not an entitlement and I’m ready to work,” said Samaria, who was coach of the national under20s and under23s between 2005 and 2008.
Samaria has so much local coaching experience, having won three league titles with African Stars in 2009, 2010 and 2017.
“We have only this week here, and on Monday we leave for Comoros and I must emphasize that we are pressed for time but that should not be an excuse because the players are footballers and these type of situations are common to them and to me as a coach as well,” he said.
It is yet to be seen, how the change in management will affect the team’s preparations. Namibia reached the last eight of the 2018 CHAN, losing to eventual winners, Morocco.
“We have got a coach for the CHAN team and we believe Bobby has the right mentality and enthusiasm to lead the team at this juncture. We were never going to pull out these important qualifiers and the team starts training on Tuesday. The previous head coach initiated this project and players and we are just carrying it through for continuation. We will support the team in order to get the best out of them”, Basson-Namundjebo said.
The winner of the Namibia-Comoros match will take on the winner of Madagascar versus Mozambique match in the third and final round of the qualifiers.
The 31-man squad called by Samaria is as follow; Larry Horaeb, Charles Hambira and Junias Theophilus ( Tura Magic), Aprocious Petrus (Eleven Arrows), Kennedy Eib ( Touch & Go), Mata Mbemutjiua (Young African), Jonas Mathias (Citizens), Edmund Kambanda and Charles Uirab (UNAM), Ratanda Mbazuvara, Treasure Kauapirura, Ivan Kamberipa, Obrey Amseb, Marcel Papama and Gustav Isaak ( African Stars), Immanuel Heita, Dynamo Fredericks, Wesley Katjiteo, Vitapi Ngaruka, Emilio Martin, McCartney Naweseb, Wendell Rudath ( Black Africa), Mapenzi Muwanei, Llewelyn Stanley and Absalom Iimbondi (Tigers), Isaskar Gurirab (Life Fighters), Elmo Kambindu, Olsen Ameb and Bernard Horaseb( Mighty Gunners), Panduleni Nekundi (Unattached), Revered Matroos (Young Brazilians).