Namibia: Mannetti Speaks On Contract Issue, FIFA's NC Decision

13 August 2019

Windhoek — In a candid sit-down interview with New Era Sport yesterday, coach Ricardo Mannetti confirmed that his employment contract as head coach of the Brave Warriors ran full circle end of last month (31 July) and as it currently stands, he is yet to have a formal round-table discussion with the leadership of the Namibia Football Association (NFA).

When Mannetti was appointed as national team head coach in 2015, the NFA tasked him with the ultimate objective of accomplishing "Project 2019", which was to qualify Namibia for this year's African Cup of Nations (Afcon), which took place in Egypt last month.

As per contractual obligation, Mannetti succeed in qualifying Namibia to this year's Afcon and not only that, during his tenure as head gaffer of the Brave Warriors, he also helped Namibia lift her first ever Cosafa trophy in 2015 and followed up on that success by winning the Plate section of the same competition the following year.

Also under Mannetti, the Brave Warriors for the first time ever in their history managed to qualify for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN), which was then followed by the 2019 Afcon qualification.

Under Mannetti's reign, the number of Namibian football exports to various continental and international leagues has increased and continues to grow, while the stability and quality of the national team has been hailed by many a football pundit.

But heading to last month's Afcon finals in Egypt - despite all the above listed achievements - Mannetti boarded the plane to Cairo with just a few weeks left in his four-year contract and with no formal indication from the Fifa-appointed Normalisation Committee for the NFA on his immediate future.

Namibia's short-lived 2019 Afcon campaign came and went, and still there was no formal engagement from the NFA until his contract ended on 31 July.

In yesterday's interview, the coach revealed that since his return from Egypt and the weeks that followed thereafter, he waited for formal communication from the Normalisation Committee but has to date not yet sat down with the NFA to discuss and review his overall performance as Brave Warriors head coach.

"My contract ended 31 July and as matters currently stand, the Normalisation Committee will be in a better position to provide more clarity on the future of the national head coach position. I'm really also in the dark about the whole issue, but what I can say is that my contract ended. I heard that the position will be advertised once my contract ends but it has not yet been advertised, so I don't know if it will be advertised and when will it be advertised. But as I said, that's for the Normalisation Committee to answer and inform the public," he said.

Asked if he will reapply for the position once advertised, Mannetti said he is yet to decide on that but will have a firm decision once the position is advertised and also after having considered other aspects that comes with making such a decision.

"I have had some casual small talks with the vice-chairman of the Normalisation Committee, Franco Cosmos, and his indication was that the NFA will send me a formal letter where they will outline their decision as far as my situation is concerned, I don't know what will be in that letter but I'm also yet to receive it, maybe they will still send it to me... naturally, as the person who was in that position, I expected them to engage me as first option but the Normalisation Committee said they wanted to do things transparently by advertising the position to all interested parties and give all a chance to apply, which is something that I understand and respect. So I now await for the position to be advertised and see what my decision will be"

Asked if the prolonged appointment of a substantive head coach might cause instability within the national team, he said it is only wise and to the benefit of the nation for the NFA to identify and appoint a head coach as soon as possible as that will bring much-needed certainty around the future of the Brave Warriors as well as Namibian football in general.

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