12 June 2012

Namibia: I Told You So - Rukoro

NFA Secretary General Barry Rukoro says there is nothing surprising about the Brave Warriors' recent improved performances.

Rukoro says he has long forecast a turn in fortune for the previous whipping boys of African football and as such, has been vindicated.

On Saturday, the Brave Warriors beat Kenya 1-0 in Windhoek to boost their chances of qualifying for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

Namibia's victory comes less than a week after a slender 1-0 defeat at the hands of waning continental powerhouse Nigeria.

That result had observers - other than Rukoro - heralding a new dawn for the Brave Warriors.

Last week, former Brave Warriors stalwart Mohammed Ouseb said the current generation had the potential to surpass the achievements of the history-making class of '98.

"I'm not surprised. I told the Namibian people to be patient. I have been vindicated. I've been saying that this will come," Rukoro told The Namibian yesterday.

"They are nowhere near their potential. Give them another year or so and then you will see why I don't doubt these boys' ability. They will be even much better by then."

Boxing promoter Nestor Tobias also shares Rukoro's perspective.

"The way they play is not like what we always used to see. You can see that they have a good game plan and they have confidence," said Tobias.

Tobias, who said he was an avid follower of the national football team, now wants the NFA to upgrade coach Bernard Kaanjuka - dubbed Mr Cool by his players - from his current interim role to a substantive position.

Kaanjuka, the deputy to the Director of Sport, has had a satisfactory record with the Warriors since replacing former interim coach Brian Isaacs just over nine months ago.

Namibia has only lost twice under Kaanjuka, recording four draws and as many victories.

Tobias's analysis is: "I think it's time that they give Kaanjuka the full-time job. He's proven that he is a good coach. He understands the local guys and you can see they are getting better."

Rukoro proved elusive on Kaanjuka's status, but he did confirm that retaining the coach full time remained a possibility.

Should Kaanjuka be interested, he would need to surrender his duties at the Directorate of Sport. As it is, the NFA has given the coach an indefinite stay at the helm of the Brave Warriors.

"We are working on some technical aspects around that matter. We have obviously taken note of what he has done in the last few months. It is a possibility," said Rukoro.

Liberia, the only other side to inflict defeat on the Brave Warriors, are next in the firing lane.

The west Africans face Namibia in the return leg of their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Windhoek on Saturday.

Liberia lead the series 1-0.

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