National pride before money – Benjamin

Brave Warriors coach Collin Benjamin. File photo

The unsavoury Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) prize money squabble has been put to bed, says Brave Warriors head coach Collin Benjamin.

He does not believe there will be a lingering effect on the team’s mentality heading into the 2026 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers against Liberia and Tunisia on 5 and 11 June.

Benjamin retained the majority of his Afcon personnel who were at loggerheads with the Namibian Football Association (NFA) over bonuses for reaching the continental tournament’s round of 16, the first time that Namibia had reached that stage.

When announcing a 52-man preliminary squad yesterday to prepare for the qualifiers and Cosafa Cup, which kicks off in mid-June, Benjamin said the N$15 million debacle had been resolved.

The Brave Warriors were demanding that the entire prize money be divided among them but the NFA were only willing to share N$4,1 million, with the rest of the funds going towards hosting the Cosafa Under-17 Championship later this year.

Benjamin believes that pride should prevail over the monetary incentive that comes with donning national colours.

“As far as I know, I think the dues have been paid, we’re in a good space. I want two things from the players when they come into camp. I want effort and attitude,” Benjamin said.

“It should be about pride, it should be about love. The Namibian national team is the platform that we have, that the association, that the country has in place for these players, myself also, to make the next step. So, we have to use that platform as such. Of course we all need money and resources to be able to live, but it shouldn’t be the drive. I should use this platform to go to the next level,” Benjamin added.

Similarly, NFA secretary general Charles Siyauya said players need to embrace patriotism.

“They need to learn and know what it means to be an ambassador. We want to instil the element of patriotism, what it means,” Siyauya said.

Benjamin said he was proud of the team’s achievement in Ivory Coast, where they ended Namibia’s wait for a first win and made it beyond the group stages at the fourth attempt. It is a noteworthy achievement and one that should serve as a benchmark for future editions, he said.

“I also just want to recognise and give homage and say how proud we are of these players that took us to the Afcon second round. It took us 26 years, guys, 26 years to get to the second round, so it is something special,” Benjamin said.

“Personally, I’m not going to allow anybody to downplay it, it took us 26 years to get there and I think it’s now our duty with this team, all of us together as a Namibian nation, to see that we actually then have to go further at the next one,” he said.

Being part of two of the last three cup of nations should also not be overlooked, Benjamin said.

“We used to go to the Afcon every 10 years. It was not possible and these guys did it, and I think we have to give them their flowers while they’re around,” said Benjamin.

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