Warriors to Break Into Top 100.
The Brave Warriors are in the middle of one of their most successful periods ever. They are about to break into the top one hundred in the FIFA rankings, their highest in more than five years, and are not losing many matches.
The high ranking is reaping off real benefits, one of them is a straight path into the quarter finals of the COSAFA Cup in Zimbabwe against Zambia. The Brave Warriors are currently ranked number 101 on the official FIFA world ranking released last month. It is an astonishing fact considering that the team was ranking at 131 in the world just over a year ago.
Namibia's highest ever ranking was 76th and if the current crop of players are going reach those heights remains to be seen. But, with an ambitious coach like Tom Saintfiet behind them, coupled with his track record so far, only the future will tell. Saintfiet says he is aiming to break into the holly grail that is the top 100.
The team received a bit of stick from many observers and fans after the Swaziland game, but Saintfiet maintains that there was nothing wrong with the performance.
"There were no problems in the Swaziland game, in the first half, we played the best half in the history of Namibian football. We created 11 chances, if some of them were taken then we would have won easily. " he says.
Saintfiet blames some journalists in the print media for creating the negative publicity after the game, accusing them of a lack of understanding the game of football.
He blames the loss of tempo in the second half on that it was the beginning of the season and the foreign-based players' lack of game time at club level.
"In the second half we could not maintain the same tempo as in the first because it was beginning of the season here and more of our European-based players are bench warmers and the ones who play in South Africa don't get that much game either," he says.
Saintfiet said people should not forget that Swaziland are a good team. He referred to their good performance against Togo and the fact that they beat Namibia in the last meeting between the two sides.
The national team coach's job is not just coaching the team on the day of the game, he must watch league games and scout for players around the country.
Saintfiet has this part of his job covered as he watched over 100 top division, second division, youth league and even social league according to him.
"I see more games than than any journalist or anybody in football in Namibia," he says.
"It is my job to go around the country, watch football matches and scout for players for the national team," he said.
The issue of playing on artificial turf is always a hot topic, but Saintfiet never blamed it for the draw against the Swazis. He says his team must just adapt to it because its next game in Harare wil be on artificial turf.
Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media. (allafrica.com)