The Brave Warriors got off to a great start in their 2014 World Cup campaign when they beat Djibouti 8-0 on aggregate over two matches in November.
With this emphatic victory, Namibia has now progressed to Group F of the African World Cup qualifiers where they will come up against Nigeria, Malawi and Kenya in qualifying matches over the next two years.
While one should not get too carried away - Djibouti is after all the second lowest ranked African country with a world ranking of 195 - the manner of the victories and the new found confidence in the squad has certainly given Namibia new hope for the future.
Added to that, the NFA’s decision to appeal against CAF’s ruling regarding the eligibility of Herve Zengue of Burkina Faso, could mean that Namibia might participate at the 2012 African Cup of Nations which starts in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon next month.
At the time of going to press, the NFA had presented its case at CAF headquarters in Cairo and was awaiting CAF’s response. Namibia seems to have a strong case - so strong in fact, that NFA president John Muinjo has vowed to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland if CAF once again rules against Namibia.
If Namibia wins the case they will replace Burkina Faso at AFCON 2012, and while they were comprehensively beaten 8-1 on aggregate by Burkina Faso in the qualifiers, it is important that justice is done. CAF’s flimsy excuse that Namibia’s protest was not written on the correct paper certainly seems fishy.
The Namibia Premier League meanwhile is nearly at the halfway stage with defending champions Black Africa and African Stars still out in front. Both teams were rather unconvincing over the past month, dropping points to weaker teams, but none of the other title challengers could capitalise.
Teams like Civics, Tigers, Ramblers and SKW have been too inconsistent and at this stage its difficult to see any of these teams making a strong challenge for the title. But one thing is for sure - no team can be taken for granted, as the likes of Mighty Gunners, Blue Waters and Hotspurs proved with some upsets over the past month.
The highlight on the Namibian sporting calendar, the Namibia Sport Awards took place last month and national rugby captain Jacques Burger and long distance runner Helalia Johannes walked away with the top prizes.
Burger has had an exceptional year, helping his club Saracens to win the English Premiership for the first time in history, while he also starred for Namibia at the Rugby World Cup. Although Namibia comprehensively lost all their matches, Burger was their star player and was selected by various scribes as one of the players of the tournament. He has certainly done a lot to place his country on the map.
Johannes excelled at regional and continental level, while she also came 16th at the World Half Marathon Championships, but the Sportswoman of the Year award was much tighter with the claims of Tjipekapora Herunga and Gaby Ahrens also very strong. In the end, not much separated them, and it will be interesting to see how they all fare at the 2012 Olympic Games.
In the December issue we also report on Namibia’s national cricket team which completed a comprehensive 6-2 victory over Kenya in a T20 series; the Total Tara Rally which was won by Namibian schoolboy Wilro Dippenaar; and Paulus Ambunda who racked up his 17th consecutive victory to strengthen his chances of gaining a world title shot.
There is much more to read in this issue and remember to enter our FNB Player of the Month competition and stand a chance of winning a gift hamper with the compliments of FNB.
Till next time, enjoy the mag!
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