NFA Blunder Costs Namibian Youngsters

The Namibian Football Association’s negligence has robbed the country’s youth national team players of the opportunity to challenge for a spot at the 2015 Caf under-23 Championship and subsequently the 2016 Olympic Games.

Last Monday, Namibia were omitted from the draw held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the qualifying rounds of the continental under-23 football championship, which serves as the elimination competition for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

The NFA is said to have failed to notify Caf of their intentions to be considered for the competition. That inability to perform an elementary responsibility has not only dashed the hopes of promising youngsters, who would have benefited hugely from testing themselves against their peers internationally, but also represents a waste of already scarce resources.

Over half a million was spent on preparing the youth team for a challenge that will not materialise.

Namibia sent the youth national side on a two week tour of Ghana in August, while in early September, Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti dropped a number of senior regulars for several under-23 players for the friendly against Swaziland in a bid to supplement the youth team’s preparation for the Caf qualifying campaign.

This is in addition to the millions spent so far this year in talent identification tournaments such as the Namibian Newspaper Cup, the Skorpion Zinc Cup, and the Four Nations, which are primarily organised to help the NFA draft players for the junior national sides.

On Thursday, u23 team manager Jakes Amaning was quoted by Nampa as saying the NFA had applied for the tournament, but that “due to unforeseen circumstances” Namibia were excluded from the draw.

However, an NFA insider revealed to The Namibian Sport that a senior official within the federation failed to submit Namibia’s application.

The reluctance from NFA’s hierarchy to comment on the embarrassing indiscretion is said to stem from the influence wielded by the alleged culprit within the perennially troubled organisation.

More significantly, and arguably worrying, is that there has also been no word from the Namibia Sport Commission or the Ministry of Sport reproaching the latest in a long list of transgressions by the NFA, which in itself represents a lamentable elementary oversight.

Having realised their inexcusable error, the NFA wrote to Caf late last week to plead for an unlikely roundabout route into the competition.

“We were surprised to see our country not in the draw. At the moment we are in communication with Caf and hoping that in the next three weeks we will hear good news from them about being included in the draw,” Amaning said.

“When we spoke to Caf they said it might have been a technical error with their system which led to our application not being received,” he explained.

Amaning said the Namibian u23 team is training twice a week while waiting for the outcome.

Despite the NFA’s insistence, there is no chance of Namibia being allowed into the competition. That much can be deduced from a similar clanger in 2010 by the South African Football Association, who were gly criticised and reprimanded after that country’s national men’s and women’s teams were excluded from the draw for the All Africa Games.

Just like the Namibian calamity, the Safa official tasked with submitting the application was caught napping on the job, leading to an internal inquest, a step the NFA is not taking.

The finals of the Caf African u23 Championship will be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015.

The first round draw is as follows: Libya v Mauritania Ghana v Liberia Botswana v Kenya Zimbabwe v Swaziland Guinea-Bissau v Sierra Leone Rwanda v Somalia.

Source : The Namibian