Namibia Football Association (NFA) president Robert Shimooshili says the NFA is going to consult on how to use the N$15 million that the country will get from the Brave Warriors’ historic performance at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Côte d’Ivoire.
Despite losing 3-0 to Angola in their round of 16 match on Saturday, Namibia will still take home a considerable pay packet after becoming the first Namibian team in history to reach the last 16 at Afcon.
“Yes, we will receive US$800 000, according to the new incentive package of the Confederation of African Football (CAF),” he said, adding that the NFA will still deliberate on how to utilise the funds.
“The NFA executive committee will hold consultations with the government to decide how the money will be used,” he said.
Shimooshili congratulated the Brave Warriors on creating history, but added that their finishing was “poor”.
“The Brave Warriors played very well, our attacking was of the best in the tournament, but our finishing was poor. However, qualifying for the round of 16 is an achievement to be proud of,” he said.
CAF earlier announced that it had increased the overall prize money by 40%, which will see the overall champions receiving a huge amount of US$7 million (N$131,5 million).
The runners-up will receive US$4 million (N$75,1 million); the semi-finalists US$2,5 million (N$47 million); and the quarter-finalists US$1,3 million (N$24,4 million).
It signifies a steady increase in Afcon prize money over the years. Ten years ago the winners received a mere US$1,5 million (N$28 million), while Senegal received US$5 million (N$94 million), when they won the trophy two years ago.
A PROUD COACH
Namibia coach Collin Benjamin, meanwhile, said he was disappointed to go out of the tournament, but proud of his team.
“We are proud of what we have achieved – for my players it was a top, top experience. We came this far and like I said yesterday, whoever wrote the script didn’t have Namibia in the last 16, so we are proud of that, but it’s also now for us to work harder than we have done before, there’s no two ways about it.
“I think every Namibian child out there saw that it’s possible, we have to dream but dreaming alone will not take you to the next stage, we have to work,” he said.
Benjamin added that Afcon 2023 was more than just football.
“The small teams are not really small anymore, because the coaches are also educated, the players are playing at good levels and the players are hungry. If you look at what names are coming out of this continent, this Afcon is more than just football, it’s African culture coming together, it’s African talent coming together saying this is what we represent, we are Africa, it’s ours, it’s beautiful, the whole world is watching us right now, and it’s not only the players,” he said.
“You see the organisation here, you see what his excellency Alassane Ouattara put here and what CAF is doing here, it’s crazy, top stadiums, top infrastructure, top resources being put in. New roads are being constructed, this is a continent that is on the move, a continent that is vibrant, it’s saying to the world, hallo, hallo, Africa is here, so this is more than just football, this is a continent showing the world that we are around and everything is world-class,” he added.
International relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah yesterday issued a statement congratulating the Brave Warriors.
“Regardless of the defeat in the second round, the Brave Warriors exhibited consistency and preserved their pace in their performance since the beginning of the game,” she said.
The Swapo presidential candidate said the government is committed to developing sports infrastructure and is rallying behind the Brave Warriors.
“As the government is committed to improving sports infrastructure, we call upon the nation to rally behind the Brave Warriors and we have no doubt that the team will continue to make us all proud. We are confident that they will score more goals and win many more matches,” she said.
Concerns have been raised that Namibia’s inadequate sports infrastructure, attributed to a perceived lack of government investment, has resulted in the national team being forced to utilise foreign stadiums for international matches.
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