Samaria makes room for football veterans

By Michael Uugwanga

BRAVE Warriors coach Bobby Samaria has revealed that he has no problem calling up long forgotten veterans such as Lazarus Kaimbi (31), Rudolf Bester (36), Ferdinand Karongee (35), Willem Mwedihanga (33) and Tangeni Shipahu (32) into the Brave Warriors squad as long they are getting game time and performing well for their respective clubs.

Kaimbi, who plays club football in Malaysia’s top football league for Pahang FC has not featured for the Brave Warriors under Ricardo Mannetti due to injuries, lack of game time and apparent indiscipline, while Rudolf Bester, who is Brave Warriors all-time top scorer with 13 international goals has not featured for Namibia for nearly six years due to injuries and lack of game time.

Kaimbi last played for Namibia in 2011 against Djibouti and has 17 caps for the Brave Warriors, scoring five goals in the process, while Bester only made his return to Namibia last season to play for local club Eleven Arrows after a year without a club.

Mwedihanga joined University of Namibia (UNAM) in the Namibia Premier League (NPL) last season after former club Cape Umoya Utd did not give him a contract extension, while Karongee is at Tigers FC, also in the NPL, but he was not included in the Brave Warriors 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers or at the tournament in Egypt this year.

Kaimbi was among the scorers for his side’s 3-0 win over Melaka United during the first leg quarter-final match of their league cup on Saturday. So far, Kaimbi has scored five goals from nine matches for the club in all competitions. Bester last season managed to score four goals despite featuring in fewer matches.

Shipahu is another player that was being overlooked by the previous regime and still plays football in Thailand for Deffo FC in Thailand’s Division 4.

Samaria told Confidente this week that he would select players based on their performance, regardless of their ages, meaning that Kaimbi, Bester, Mwedihanga, Karongee, and Shipahu all still have future prospects under Samaria’s regime.

“As a coach you need to look at all players playing in Namibia or outside Namibia. As I have said before, it is not about age as many people are saying but it’s all about performances of players at their clubs, because you find a 38-year-old still playing professional football. You look at players like Virgil Vries (goalkeeper) and Chris Katjiukua (defender) that were dropped by the previous coach for reasons they do not know about,” Samaria remarked.

Asked if he was monitoring the progress of Kaimbi, Samaria said it was a big shame that Kaimbi did not play lots more football in the past due to injuries, but said he was happy with Kaimbi’s form at his club.

Samaria surprised everyone last month by calling up veteran defender Pat-Nevin Uanivi (32) for his first outing against Madagascar in the second round first leg match of the 2020 Confederation of African Football, African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers on 22 September, which Namibia lost 1-0.

“Yes, I know that Kaimbi did not play lots of football as he was out for like six months after suffering a fracture, but he is scoring goals. It’s not only about Kaimbi but all other Namibian players are eligible for selections,” Samaria observed.

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