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How prepared are we for the Championships?

Mon, 14 April 2014 03:02
by Timoteus Shihepo
Columns

As from the 11th to 25th October this year, thousands of people will come to Namibia for the 2014 Confederation of African Football (Caf) Women’s Championships (AWC).
The tournament is undoubtedly one [if not the biggest] football event Namibia has hosted, which brings together countries from all over Africa above one piece of soil.
And all that’s commendable, alright. What isn’t is; since Namibia was awarded the hosting rights in October 2011, not much has been done. Besides the countdown on the Namibian Football Association’s website, there is barely anything else being said about it, as far as marketing goes.
One moment you would like to believe the women’s national team, Gladiators, are getting enough game-time after recently playing Ghana and Ethiopia, but then again, you find the matches being played on the same day as the NPL fixtures. Seriously, who is fooling who here?
Never have I heard of the Namibian men’s national football team (Brave Warriors) playing on the same day or even weekend as premier league clubs.
Yes, one could argue the Gladiators don’t play in the NPL but then again, we are talking about playing host to the AWC here! Meaning, our attention should be focused on the team, to avoid a situation where it is eliminated in the first round.
A recent assessment report from Caf based on the inspection delegation, led by Molife Oliphant, has reiterated the Confederation’s confidence in Namibia as host to the football showpiece this October.
While the report, which came out in March this year, expresses its satisfaction with hotel infrastructure, it calls for immediate action on national stadium maintenance - the Sam Nujoma and Independence stadiums where the games will take place.
The question then is; are the stadiums undergoing the recommended infrastructural adjustments or are we waiting for last-minute work, which normally fails?
The other critical issue is of the coach, Jaqueline Shipanga, who during the recent friendlies, made herself unavailable because she was part of the Technical Study Group for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica. Isn’t she supposed to be here to prepare her team for the Championships?
Speaking of preps, the team needs an intense fitness programme. Not to criticise but some of the players in the women’s national team are overweight!
Just to emphasise the tournament’s importance, this will also be the first time Namibia participates and it will thus serve as a qualification tournament for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will need top-three teams qualifying for the finals in Canada. Still, is Namibia ready?