Futsal Namibia aiming for Top Three 

Namibia’s futsal team that will compete at Afcon 2024 in Morocco. Photo: Helge Schütz

Namibia’s national futsal coach Ryan Jago has set a target of finishing in the top three at the Africa Cup of Nations Futsal Championships which start in Rabat, Morocco next week. 

The top three nations at Afcon will qualify for the Futsal World Cup which takes place in Uzbekistan in September this year and Jago said at a press conference in Windhoek yesterday that anything less than a top three finish will be a disappointment. 

“Anything less than third place, which will qualify us for the World Cup, will be deemed a disappointment, so that’s our expectation – a minimum of third place and getting into the world cup. As I say,  we will be disappointed with anything less than that because we have full belief in the boys and we feel we will let ourselves down, not just the players, but the coaches as well, if we dont achieve our goal,” he said.  

“It will be a big challenge, the boys know that, but they are physically and mentally ready, and weve had a rigorous routine for the last six weeks, with fitness tests and now going over the tactics once more, they’ve really done well and myself and coach Donawald (Modise) and coach Thiro (Thlabanello) are really confident in the boys,” he added. 

Namibia qualified for the Afcon finals after a brilliant come from behind victory against Tanzania two months ago. Tanzania won the first leg qualifier 5-2 in Windhoek on 3 February, but Namibia struck back with a sensational 6-3 victory in Dar es Salaam a week later to qualify for the finals on the away goals rule, after the teams were tied 8-8 on aggregate score. 

Jago said that was a great result for the fledgling sport in Namibia. 

“The boys dug in, worked really hard and prepared themselves mentally and physically very well and now we’re through to the African Cup of Nations which is a massive achievement in itself. I think that’s brilliant for futsal in Namibia, not just for the national team, but as a nation, we can now grow the grassroots side of the game and really build the local leagues and hopefully gain a good following,” Jago said. 

“The better we do, the more children will fall in love with the game. So now it’s  about making ourselves proud as a nation and I think the boys are doing a fabulous job. We’re working on different strategies and different systems of play in order to be adaptable,” he added. 

The team leaves for Morocco on Friday, arriving in Rabat the next day, while the tournament will take place from 11 to 21 April. 

Namibia will compete in Group B alongside Egypt, Libya and Mauritania, while Group A consists of Morocco, Angola,Ghana and Zambia. 

Jago said they had lined up two friendly matches before the tournament starts. 

“When we get to Morocco, we’ve got two games lined up against two Moroccan professional teams in their pro league on 7 and 9 April. We’ll have enough time to rest in between and do a bit of light training, and we feel that will prepare us adequately for the upcoming Afcon games,” he said. 

Absai Simon of Futsal Namibia, meanwhile, said the players are not yet contracted. 

“We are still busy lining up contracts for all the players – as you know futsal is a new sport and we are starting from scratch. We are not like the Brave Warriors, we are the Brave Fives, and we are taking everything step by step. 

The NFA and especially Jacqui Shipanga is very keen to assist us as much as possible, but there’s a huge difference between the two teams. The nation should just keep in mind that we also need you to come on board so that the boys can be financially assisted,” he said.

The Namibian squad is as follows:

Riya Usurua, Cee-Jay van Wyk, Donald Modise, Nanguei Kamatuka, Elroi Drotsky, Daniel Dausab, Reginald Willemse, Rowen Jager, George Haikali, Silas Matheus, Boniface Siyanga, Ken Salote, Luis Solunga, Remario Mathys.

Coach – Ryan Jago; assistant coach – Donawald Modise, goalkeeper coach – Tiro Thlabanello.  

Rudolf Mupiri is the head of delegation. 

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