RICHARD 'Bobby' Samaria shouldered responsibility for Namibia's erratic 3-0 defeat to Guinea during their 2020 African Nations Championship opening clash in Limbe on Tuesday.
But, the Popular Democratic Movement strongly believes the perennially warring Namibia Football Association and Namibia Premier League bosses are the team's achilles.
"... those who are in charge of the administration of football in this country should be ashamed of themselves" for having "brought the state of football in Namibia on its knees", PDM said in a statement yesterday.
The Brave Warriors were incoherent and disjointed, looking every part like the action-deprived bunch they are as the 'Sily National' punished them for repeated unforced errors.
Samaria cut a frustrated figure on the touchline, as his pre-match optimism dissipated with every misplaced, overcooked or under-hit pass, the latter of which gifted Guinea the opener on 13 minutes.
"You cannot win a game by yourself nor can you lose a game by yourself. We are trying to refrain from the usual norm of trying to apportion blame to individuals. It's a team effort. We win together and we lose together," Samaria told said in an interview with the NFA yesterday.
"There's no way that the players who made the mistakes should be crucified. If there's any person out there for whatever reason who wants to crucify them, they should rather crucify the coach. I'll be their keeper," he continued.
Midfielder Immanuel Heita's casual back pass lacked the required weight to reach goalkeeper Edward Maova, allowing Guinea striker Yakhouba Barry to pounce a slot into the back of the net.
The second goal was down to individual brilliance from Morlaye Sylla and hesitant defending from Namibia a minute before half-time.
After springing the offside trap, man of the match Sylla cut inside his marker on the left before planting an inch-perfect shot into the top right-hand corner from the edge of the penalty box.
Maova was at fault for the third and Barry's second late on, as he let a tame angled shot slip through and trickle into the net.
"We really planned to win the match, unfortunately things did not go our way. We conceded at the most unfortunate periods of the game," Samaria said in his post-match analysis with cafonline.com.
"We take lessons from this defeat to Guinea. We conceded two goals because of some silly mistakes. There are no excuses here, but we lost to the well-prepared team of Guinea."
Namibia were by no means outplayed - far from it. However, they appeared very lethargic and disorganised. The lethargy can be put down to not playing competitive football for two years, while questions will once again be asked of Samaria's tactical ability at this level.
It is the second successive match in which the Warriors have looked directionless, following November's shambolic display against Mali in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.
Samaria is not the issue, PDM's secretary for sports Johannes Martin said. Instead the NFA and NPL who are locked in a power struggle should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror, he said
"Our footballers cannot be expected to compete competitively with other nations while they do not engage in football and training on a regular basis. This state of affairs should come to an end. These two parties are destroying the future of sports in general and football in particular in this country," Martin charged.
"What is more disheartening is that while these two factions continue to fight each other, our footballers are lingering in poverty and hunger as they have no means to provide for themselves and their families due to this never ending conflict between the NFA and NPL," he added.
The Brave Warriors' most positive moment on Tuesday came from playmaker Ambrosius Amseb, whose viciously swerving and dipping free-kick from about 28 metres looked destined for the top corner, but Guinea goalkeeper Camara tipped it over the bar.
The defeat sees Namibia rooted to the bottom of Group D, with next opponent Tanzania, who went down 2-0 to Zambia, directly above them.
"We now need to go back to the drawing board to plan for our next game against Tanzania," said Samaria.
Leaders Guinea face Zambia for pool supremacy on Saturday.
"I am very delighted with the 3-0 win in our first match.We must treat every game with a lot of seriousness, because every team that is here is strong," said Guinea coach Mohamed Kanfory Bangoura.
"Although we beat Namibia, we did not underrate them from the start, but only selected a team that reacted well to win the game," he said.
Second-half goals by captain Collins Sikombe and Emmanuel Chabula were enough to ease Chipolopolo into the tournament.
Playmaker Sikombe converted a second-half penalty in the 63rd minute, before Chabula sweetly volleyed with nine minutes remaining to complete an impressive showing by the Chipolopolo.
"No team wins the trophy after just winning the first game in the tournament. We have played against a good team that put us under a lot of pressure - especially in the first half. Winning the opening match is a good step, but we are still far from playing our best," said Zambia gaffer Milutin Sredojevic
His Tanzania counterpart, Etienne Ndairagije, said: "The game was basically a 50/50 and our opponents, Zambia, managed to capitalise and take their chances. The two teams played good football, and the fans enjoyed what they saw. We need to keep working hard, because we still have two games to play in the group and we have a chance."