It’s as old as the debate of country versus club for any football player, but I just thought of looking at the NFA’s quest for a foreign coach this week. We went to our first Nations Cup with a local coach Rustern Mogane, ten years later an African coach, Ben Bamfuchile, took us to our second Afcon.
We have been to the Afcon twice in 20 years of independence, today the NFA is looking for a foreign coach for the Brave Warriors. Bamfuchile was earning approximately N$60 000 a month, had a car and a house for him paid for by the association. After Ben passed on, (MHSRIP), another fellow got lost and landed at Hosea Kutako International Airport, they asked him his hobby, he said soccer and the NFA appointed Arie Schans as coach. He was fired and is now in Malaysia, still globe-trotting.
I could not even understand one way coming out of Arie Schans’ mouth. What more dump players like my friend Jamu?
Tom Saintfiet came with all the energy, he swore never to lose at home, had a bright start, but lost focus once Namibia got into him. Tom left for greener pastures which later became sour as he lost both the Namibia and the Zimbabwe job. His weakness: mouthfulness.
Tom spoke and fought with everybody. I was his personal manager at some stage and when contact was made by Zimbabwe, he moved too soon.
Then Brian came, to me the best coach in Namibia, he was also pressured out. What sent Tom away is what made Brian look like a failure and is the same thing that kills our football. All the local coaches got half of what Tom and Ben got. NFA can afford any coach in the world if the government gives it money. That I know. But any coach in the world cannot afford our expectation with the resources that we have.
Even if we get a coach from Mars, Namibian football will not get to the Promised Land. Not now. Not when government has no single clue about sport. White coach, black coach, Namibian coach, African or European, we will remain continental lightweights. Even Barry Rukoro, Jacks Amaning, Ali Akan, myself, JJD, Ranga Haikali, or any other former player have the vision of taking the Brave Warriors far. We all envisage sitting on that hot seat somewhere in Russia at the World Cup, wearing a long jacket and gloves because of the freezing weather, just like the next coach.
But guess what, we are nowhere near it.
NFA needs to be funded fully for its structures to function from grassroots level. NFA does not need money to pay a coach, whether foreign or local, it needs money to build football and capacity. We have a technical director from Germany, what is he doing? Learning English! He can only do so much.
It is not NFA to blame. There is no money in Namibian football to develop the game. Last week, I watched the Under-20 African youth championships won by Egypt after they beat Nigeria on penalties. Mali and Ghana also reached the top four. Expect the next ten years to be dominated by those four countries in Africa, Egypt Nigeria, Mali and Ghana.
We saw it when Ghana went to the Youth World Cup, when Zambia reached the U19 World tournament in Canada five years ago. Both those teams are dominating African football and have become giants.
We need to develop football before a coach can be sent by God to ensure that we qualify for tournament. Not even Mourinho or Congo Hindjou can coach a team without a feeder system for the future.
Government is not doing our football justice. Period.
My other worry with NFA however is that if they appoint a coach now and we fail to qualify, it would mean we will be paying this guy N$80 000 a month, with a house and a car for all those months that the team will be inactive.
It does not make economic sense. Or else they will fire him, which again does not have any growth sense. This campaign for Brazil is ill-fated; we will qualify by the grace of God not by our ability. NFA needs to consider that whoever comes should build a team for 2018 World Cup and all the junior tournaments in-between.
Without a building formula and government funding, a local coach or a Pep Guardiola are all the same.