The Namibia Football Association (NFA) yesterday shot down suggestions it is looking to replace Brave Warriors head coach Collin Benjamin with a foreign tactician.
An audio of an unidentified ‘European coach’ purportedly in talks with the NFA over the possibility of taking charge of the Brave Warriors has been doing rounds this week, fuelling rumours that the new leadership has no confidence in Benjamin.
“A big no. Not true,” newly elected NFA president Robert Shimooshili told The Namibian Sport when fielding queries on several issues linked to the national federation.
“We are aware of the clip circulating on social media. We don’t know who that person is. People must stop spreading misinformation,” he cautioned.
“We are only in office one week and have not made any such decision. We all know the work that Collin Benjamin has done. We are not unhappy with it.”
Benjamin, who is preparing to lead the Brave Warriors at the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast early next year, said he was not aware that the NFA was looking for a new coach.
“I’m at peace. I have not yet spoken to the new leadership. That’s all I can say about it,” Benjamin, who was appointed on a five-year deal in June 2022.
In the audio, the purported new coach claims the NFA hierarchy will make a decision on him next week.
“I want to inform you that last Friday, they appointed the new football president in the Namibia football federation. They re-contacted me to start talking about the possibility of me and my staff to travel to Namibia to take the job for the head coach of the senior national team,” the would-be coach said in conversation with another unidentified person.
“I’m awaiting the board meeting on 9 December. Maybe, I can travel any time when they decide if our project or budget is correct.”
Shimooshili also rubbished claims that the NFA fired Brave Gladiators head coach Paulus Shipanga and his assistant Marvin Mbakera.
In fact, the NFA head said Shipanga is suspended by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for four matches after remonstrating with match officials when the Gladiators went down 2-0 to Morocco in the second round return leg match of Olympic qualification in late October.
Meanwhile, Mbakera recently re-assumed the reins at reigning Debmarine Namibia Premiership champions African Stars on a full-time basis.
The NFA roped in Woody Jacobs, head coach of Botswana Premier League newcomers Matebele FC, to lead the Gladiators against Ghana in the final round of 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
“The coach [Shipanga] is not replaced. He is not available at the moment as he is suspended. We asked Woody to assist us for these two matches because the assistant coach [Mbakera] is also not available. His employer [African Stars] feels he is needed there,” Shimooshili said.
“The team is currently in Ghana for the first leg match and we wish them well. We hope that they can have a good result before they play again in South Africa next week.”
The new NFA head also weighed in on the Black Africa saga that has dominated football headlines over the past two weeks.
Relegated from the topflight last season, the country’s most decorated club side is embroiled in a power struggle that has caused its first two matches in the Southern Stream First Division to be called off. Two separate teams backed by the warring factions showed up for the opening fixtures over the weekend, leading to the kick-offs to be suspended.
Shimooshili said those expecting the NFA to intervene are barking up the wrong tree.
“People want to make this an NFA issue. This is not an issue of the association. It is an issue of internal fighting in the club. They don’t want to reconcile,” Shimooshili said.
“Having a demonstration at the NFA offices, for what? People should not shift responsibility. The association can advise but can not interfere in the activities of Black Africa. They must apply maturity to the issue and deal with it,” he said.
Shimooshili added that attributing the aforementioned issues to the NFA is the work of those opposed to his election as NFA president and the new executive council.
He maintained the call for unity in Namibian football.
“These are things we are trying to avoid. We knew these types of things are coming. You could see the tension at the congress. Those who want to sabotage and are unhappy with the outcome [of the NFA elections] don’t want things to run smoothly. It will not shake us, we will deliver on our mandate.”
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