What a month we’ve had! In soccer there has been drama on and off the field, with the Brave Warriors starting their 2012 African Cup of Nations campaign off on a losing note against Gambia, while coach Tom Saintfiet decided he had had enough and jumped ship to take over the helm at Zimbabwe.
The trip to Gambia was doomed from the start with the withdrawal of key players, late flight schedules and only one full training session all contributing to a disastrous start for the Brave Warriors as they lost 3-0 against Gambia in Banjul.
The Brave Warriors start their campaign for a place at the 2012 African Cup of Nations finals this month with a tough away match against Gambia on September 4.
Their preparations have not been ideal with a planned friendly match against Israel falling through due to visa problems, while most of Namibia’s players are not match fit due to the inactivity of the Namibia Premier League. Furthermore, five of Namibia’s foreign based professionals are currently clubless after their contracts were not renewed.
For a month, the world watched in awe and wonder as the 2010 FIFA World Cup unfolded in South Africa.
Initial fears of crime, poor organisation and a lack of visitors were soon dispelled as the World Cup came to life in a colourful and noisy display of African hospitality and unbridled energy and excitement.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup got off to a perfect start in South Africa as record crowds turned up to watch the opening round matches. A sell out crowd of 90 000 watched the opening match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico while the average attendance of first round matches was more than 50 000, giving South Africa the second highest World Cup attendance figures of the past three decades.
The atmosphere has been tremendous with raucous vuvuzelas adding a distinctive flavour to this colourful and noisy display of typical African hospitality.
The biggest show that I will probably experience in my lifetime, the 2010 FIFA World Cup is about to start in neighbouring South Africa and I can’t wait to go. I have been fortunate enough to receive media accreditation from FIFA and will be based in Cape Town where I will cover the Group matches and three matches during the knockout stages before going to Johannesburg to attend the final.
The May edition of Namibia Sport marks a special occasion – it’s the 100th edition since our launch in February 2002. I must say, I’m quite proud of this achievement especially since the magazine industry in Namibia is a notoriously difficult one to survive in, and quite a few other publications have come and gone over the years.
The Tafel Lager Brave Warriors gave a great performance to hold South Africa to a 1-1 draw in Durban on March 3.
Rudolph Bester momentarily shocked the 50 000 fans into silence when he put Namibia ahead just before halftime, but South Africa equalised through Katlego Mphela midway through the second half.
Despite constant pressure by Bafana Bafana, Namibia managed to hold out for a draw, which was a great result, considering that South Africa had beaten Zimbabwe 3-0 and Swaziland 6-2 in two previous friendlies.
The MTC Premiership intensified in February as the battle for league honours as well as the battle for survival amongst the bottom clubs led to some remarkable results. The leading teams all stumbled and failed to make use of their opportunities to move clear, and with five matches remaining, African Stars still held a slender two-point lead over Orlando Pirates. Third placed Tigers, who were five points behind Stars and Black Africa (seven points behind) are also still in with a chance of winning the N$600 000 first prize.
With the MTC Namibia Premier League entering the home straight, the pressure on coaches to deliver results has started to increase and the usual coaches merry go round has once again started.
As in previous seasons, several coaches have come and gone over the past few months, only to resurface at new clubs.
The first round of the MTC Premiership ended in thrilling fashion in December with defending champions African Stars taking the lead in the title race. Stars edged ahead of Katutura rivals Black Africa and Orlando Pirates after the latter two played out to a goalless draw in a passionate derby on December 11. The result left Stars just ahead of Pirates on goal difference, while Black Africa was lying third, two points off the pace.