Following days of wild speculations, New Era yesterday established that Ricardo Mannetti actually turned down a much-improved employment contract, offering him N$75 000 net per month to continue as Brave Warriors coach.
Mannetti's contract ended at the end of last month, after which the Namibia Football Association (NFA) leadership decided to retain his services by offering him an improved contract that was due to commence on July 1, 2015, and expiring on June 30, 2017.
Although NFA Secretary General Barry Rukoro told the media last week that Mannetti resigned after refusing to accept the contract, Mannetti is yet to give his side of the story.
The revered former Brave Warriors midfield maestro last month guided the senior national football team to their first cup win after they beat Mozambique 2-0 in the Cosafa Cup final in South Africa.
News of his shock resignation was announced last week, on the eve of an important Championship of African Nations (CHAN) match against Zambia - which the team eventually won under the interim guidance of Ronnie Kanalelo.
Mannetti had apparently asked to be deployed as coach elsewhere within the NFA.
The nation reeled in shock at Mannetti's unceremonious departure - with neither him nor Soccer House offering any concrete explanation as to what exactly transpired. NFA President Frans Mbidi yesterday told New Era that despite Mannetti's decision to step down, the football body is willing to sit with him to find common ground."Like everyone else, we feel he is the right person to lead the team. That is why the exco (executive committee) decided in February already that we should give him a substantive contract," said Mbidi.
Mbidi said Mannetti told him last Thursday that he stepped down for family reasons.
New Era understands that Mannetti's father suffered a stroke earlier this month.
"The package was already discussed before the team went for Cosafa. We gave him time to go through it and he declined it. But we are ready to negotiate," said the NFA president.
According to the employment contract offered to Mannetti by NFA, which New Era has seen: "The salary offered to and accepted by the employer in the office of the senior national team head coach of the Namibia Football Association shall be a net salary of N$75 000 per month payable monthly on the last working day of every month." On top of that, he was to receive N$7 500 as appearance fee for every friendly match and a winning bonus. He was offered N$10 000 as appearance fee for World Cup and African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifying matches, and N$20 000 as a bonus for winning those matches. For the CHAN qualifiers, Mannetti was to receive a N$7 500 appearance fee, but the winning bonus of N$15 000 shall only be paid if he leads the team to qualify for the next round of the qualifiers in that competition.
Mannetti was also offered a N$250 000 bonus if he led the team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2018, and N$150 000 if the team qualifies for the 2017 AFCON competition.
For the CHAN competition slated for Rwanda in 2016, Mannetti was offered N$80 000 if the team qualifies for that tournament.
Another performance expectation NFA inserted in Mannetti's contract offer was that he should steer the team below the 100 mark on the FIFA rankings. "In order for the head coach to qualify for an extension of this contract, the Brave Warriors should make a respectable attempt to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2018," the contract reads in part. Meanwhile, Mannetti's interim replacement Ronnie Kanalelo told journalists after Sunday's victory against Zambia that he will attempt to convince Mannetti to rethink his decision.
"I hope he comes back, I will try to convince him because he is the right man to take us forward since he came a long way with these players," said Kanalelo.
"He has qualities I do not have and vice versa, therefore we complement each other very well."
Attempts to get Mannetti for comment proved futile yesterday as the former Santos FC midfielder's phone remained switched off.