Bernard Kaanjuka suffered his first defeat as Brave Warriors coach when they lost 1-0 to Liberia in an Afcon 2013 qualifying match in Monrovia on February 29.
After a string of great results which included a goalless draw against eventual African champions Zambia, Kaanjuka finally tasted defeat for the first time in seven matches in the hot seat.
Namibia’s work will now be cut out to beat Liberia in the return leg in June, but we should not lose hope. Anyone who saw the team beating Mozambique in a friendly on February 22 will realise that the seeds of a fine team are being sown, which just need time to grow.
But as a soccer coach, time is always in short supply and with some tough matches coming up this year against the likes of Nigeria, Kenya and Malawi, Kaanjuka will now have to get used to the pressure of an expectant nation demanding positive results.
It was heartache for our cricketers in March, as they came so close to qualifying for the T20 World Cup. After a brilliant start that saw them winning their first seven matches in a row, the wheels came off when they lost to both Afghanistan and Ireland in the World Cup playoff matches.
With players like LP van der Westhuizen, Sarel Burger, Louis Klazinga, Gerrie Snyman and the Player of the Tournament Raymond van Schoor all producing great performances, Namibia certainly had the skill to qualify but in the end a lack of big match temperament cost them, as they failed to deliver when it mattered most.
It was so close, but yet so far, and hopefully the experience gained will come to good stead next time.
March was also a tough month for our boxers as Paulus Moses lost a world title fight against Ricky Burns in Scotland, while Tyson Ushona lost the WBO Intercontinental title against Jan Zaveck in Slovenia.
Moses gave a good account against Burns but in the end was outthought by a smart boxer with a great defense and little firepower. Moses took the defeat like a man without excuses and promised to be back, but at the age of 33, opportunities for him will be difficult to come by.
Ushona gave a great performance in front of 5 000 Slovenian fans and by all reports some biased judges who gave Zaveck a big win in a close contest.
But despite the defeats, both boxers made their country proud and the boxing world is now certainly aware of the quality of boxers that Namibia is producing.
And they keep on coming. Paulus Ambunda could be in line for a world title fight soon after recording his 18th pro win against Cleutus Mbhele at the Independence Boxing Bonanza, while Immanuel Naidjala also maintained his unbeaten status with a sensational win against Lwazi Mzolisa.
Rugby’s beleaguered ship finally seems to be sailing again after Bradley Basson was elected unopposed as the NRU’s new president at an AGM that was attended by IRB and SARU representatives last month.
With the competent Danie Strauss as his vice president and an executive committee which includes schools rugby and referees’ representatives, they finally seem to be on track to leave the murky post-World Cup waters behind, when the previous excom resigned en masse.
But a lot of work still needs to be done to restore the faith of the public and especially the sponsors and to make Namibian rugby a world class product again.
We also report on our top athletes’ race against time to qualify for the Olympic Games as well as the Namibia Premier League, where Black Africa is busy rewriting the record books with an unbeaten run.
Till next month, enjoy the mag!
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