President Hage Geingob cautioned the Brave Warriors to not rest on their laurels, following their victory in the COSAFA cup, but to begin being competitive on all fronts, starting with the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Speaking at the luncheon in honour of the Brave Warriors team at the State House, Geigob said gone are the days when Namibians were happy to just participate in tournaments.
“This is only the beginning. With success comes great expectations. You have excelled and set a national footballing benchmark by bringing back that glittering COSAFA trophy,” he said.
He added, “We want to qualify for the African Nations Cup. It has been done before twice, in Burkina Faso in 1998 and Ghana 2008 where I attended both tournaments. Let us also not rule out the World Cup qualification so that we can leave our mark on the biggest sporting showcase there is.” He further warned the players and coaching staff not to repeat the mistakes of years gone by by letting success fill them with pride.
“Do not let the success go to your heads. I remember after the AFCON in Burkina Faso in 1998 where the Brave Warriors’ exploits against the Ivory Coast were lauded. The success went to the coaches, trainers and players who thought that we had arrived and can compete with the big boys. Suddenly the focus was not on building on the success but rather on salaries, importance and popularity,” he said.
Geingob also handed over a cheque of N$1200000 to the players, N$50000 for each of the 24-man squad, on behalf of the government. Speaking at the same luncheon, Barry Rukoro, secretary general of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) said success also came as a result of the commitment of those who toiled behind the scenes. He further thanked, Brave Warriors coach, RIchardo Mannetti for his dedication.
“We needed an in-house coach who was not employed half here and the other half by another institution. We needed someone who had a clear idea of where we wanted to go, and has been there or almost there. Mannetti was a game changing decision. He analyses football 24/7.”