Brave Warriors omission is on merit

Windhoek-Following a raft of mixed feelings about the omission of the Brave Warriors from this year's MTC/NSC Namibia Sports Awards, chairperson of the awards judging panel Lesley Tjiueza says the national football team's exclusion is strictly on merit.

It is understood that the Namibia Football Association (NFA) submitted the Brave Warriors (for Team of the Year category) and its mentor Ricardo Mannetti (for Coach of the Year) as well as the Baby Warriors (Team of the Year) for nomination.

But to their surprise, none of the three submissions made it in the nominations announced on Thursday, as they were not shortlisted by the awards judging panel.

Not only the NFA, but the general public equally took issue with the omissions, particularly that of the Brave Warriors, with many taking to social media to vent their disappointment and frustrations.

The Brave Warriors were elbowed out of the Team of the Year category nominees list by the national senior and U/20 national rugby teams as well as the national women's indoor hockey team.

Many feel the Brave Warriors should have been shortlisted because of the circumstances they faced � no premier league football for over a year in Namibia, and players were mentally, physically, emotionally and financially drained but they still managed to patriotically play their hearts out to secure Namibia's first ever African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualification.

Mannetti, who was instrumental in the Brave Warriors' success, was also overlooked for Coach of the Year category, with the awards judging panel opting to go for Michael Hamukwaya (Paralympics), Erwin Handura (field hockey) and Nestor Tobias (boxing).

Providing clarity on the omission of the Brave Warriors and Mannetti, the chairperson of the awards judging panel Tjiueza said the omissions are strictly on merit and not anything personal to do with the NFA.

I fully understand the circumstances and situation the Brave Warriors were exposed to in qualifying for CHAN but unfortunately we are guided by a points system, which we use in points awards to the various achievers. It is the very same points system that also guides us when shortlisting the various nominees. When shortlisting the nominations, we don't look at circumstances or situations but we look at achievements and performance, explained Tjiueza.

He continued: When speaking of performance, we consider the level of achievement of that particular team or athlete. Speaking of the level of achievement we judge by looking at things like: was the achievement at national level, regional (SADC) level, continental or Commonwealth level or even global. And based on that, we then award points on a pro-rata basis as we go about shortlisting the various nominees. So while I understand the Brave Warriors' situation, we unfortunately have a system in place and that system must be followed at all times. Like I indicated, it's nothing personal towards anybody but strictly on merit.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia