Speculation over Brave Warriors hot seat grows

Simon McMenemy. Photo: Goal.com

Reports of a new coach for the Brave Warriors continue to grow despite the Namibia Football Association’s insistence that incumbent Collin Benjamin’s job is safe. 

On Tuesday the sport website africatopsports.com reported that the NFA is on the verge of signing Simon McMenemy from Scotland, with his unnamed agent saying that they have already reached an agreement for the 45-year-old McMenemy to take charge of the Brave Warriors and that he would likely start working on 1 January 2024. 

“We have already agreed on everything, the contract is done and dusted, the salary is already agreed on, accommodation is also done, so anything related to cash is no problem,” the agent told Africa Top Sports, adding: “The duration is what is holding us back.”

Asked to explain further, the agent said: “We want two years for the coach, but Namibia are asking for a year option, so it is what is currently holding us back but otherwise, I am sure everything will be sorted soon and the contract will officially start on 1 January, so he will be on his way to Namibia.”

The agent added that McMenemy was supposed to take over as Namibia’s coach three years ago, but the Covid-19 pandemic derailed the move.

McMenemy has previously had spells as manager of the Philippines and Indonesian national sides, as well as several club sides in the Philippines,  Indonesia, the Maldives and Cambodia. 

His most successful stint was with the Filippino club Loyola FC, with whom he won 67% of his matches, while he had a 28% win rate with Indonesia’s national team and a 20% win rate with the Philippines national team (one win, two draws and two defeats). Their lone victory against Vietnam in 2010, however, was ranked as one of the ‘Top 10 Soccer Stories of 2010’ by Sports Illustrated magazine. 

Rumours of a new coach for the Brave Warriors already started circulating last week when an audio clip of an unidentified coach, purportedly in talks with the NFA, was doing the rounds on social media, but the newly-elected NFA president Robert Shimooshili denied the allegations.

“We are aware of the clip circulating on social media. We don’t know who that person is. People must stop spreading misinformation,” he told The Namibian.

“We have only been in office for 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,” he added. 

Benjamin became coach of the Brave Warriors in July last year and has since buit up a record of 13 matches, four wins, four draws and five losses, for a win rate of just over 30%.

During the Afcon qualifying campaign the Brave Warriors beat African powerhouses Cameroon 2-1 in Soweto in March this year and went on to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals for only the fourth time in their history. 

The 2023 Afcon finals will be held in the Ivory Coast from 13 January to 11 February 2024. 

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