‘Initial challenge is ourselves’ – Kanalelo 

Ronnie Kanalelo at Afcon 2023. Photo: Helge Schütz

Debmarine Namibia premiership title holders African Stars’ newly-appointed head coach Fillemon ‘The Magnet’ Kanalelo says the initial challenge to be addressed by himself and his technical team is the team itself.

Confirming his appointment as the ‘Okaserandu’ mentor as African Stars is affectionately known, Kanalelo was quick to confirm his appointment for the remainder of the 2023/24 football season.

“We will have the necessary energy needed to win the league and with just eleven matches remaining and the first challenge is ourselves. I have made some observations  and there are certain areas to look into with the personnel at my disposal,” he said. 

“I watched the last match against Unam took over the match by forcing Stars to play from behind with their defenders,” observed Kanalelo.

Kanalelo, who serves as the Brave Warriors’ assistant coach, said that he had a healthy relationship with now assistant coach Mervin Mbakera, whom he worked with at Unam during the 2017/18 football season.

“I have a great relationship with Mbakera and I truly would like him to stay on and continue working together,” reiterated Kanaleleo.

Known as ‘The Magnet’ during his goalkeeping days, Kanalelo is not particularly impressed with Stars’ recent form and shape, but is confident that with the team’s depth and experience at its disposal there is no way they will fail to successfully retain the title.

“African Stars has the quality and ability to quickly come out of the situation they find themselves in and yes the team has the needed experience,” he said. 

The newly-appointed coach was adamant that African Stars will not lose more than three games, which could see them relinquishing their title. 

“That is not possible and will not happen,” he said. 

The experienced Kanalelo, who has coached several Namibian premier league clubs, took charge of Unam with former international team colleague Robert Nauseb working as his assistant in 2022, but late last year he parted ways with Unam, while Nauseb was appointed as the head coach.

Demoted to assistant coach for the second time, Mbakera, when contacted advised the media to contact the right people.

“I do not know what to comment on, but call and hear from the gentlemen who are best placed to comment,” said Mbakera.

Mbakera had a successful 2023 football season, winning the Debmarine Namibia Premiership title with Stars, who also qualified for the CAF African Champions League. He once again stepped down as assistant to Ghnaian coach Prince Koffie, but Koffie was dismissed in November, and Mbakera once again took over the hot seat. 

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