WINDHOEK, 17 APR – The 18-month absence of football in Namibia had a negative effect on the quality of football played by teams in the Namibia Premier League (NPL), Brave Warriors head coach Ricardo Mannetti has said.
He was speaking in Windhoek where he announced a 27-member training squad that will travel to Swaziland for the friendly international on Thursday.
“The absence of the league took a toll on the quality of the current league. Everybody thought the players should just click after a year-and-a-half. When you look closer at individual players, they were severely affected,” Mannetti said.
He explained that players were expected to be at a higher level than they are, but because of the absence of competitive football, growth was compromised.
It also had an effect on the national team, which is why the Brave Warriors technical team decided to train with 30 players for three straight months.
“We had what I term ‘football recession’ and normally after a recession, we need time to recover because this recovery will not just happen out of the blue,” the coach said.
His views were echoed by Tigers coach Woody Jacobs, who said teams did not prepare well for the season.
“The period without football affected us a lot as standards really went down and it does affect the national team negatively,” he said.
Jacobs said because of the long break, it will be difficult to select a player of the year as no one really set the league alight.
James Britz, Tura Magic’s coach, said the standards in the NPL appear to worsen every year as there is no solid development of players.
“The lifestyles of the players, especially during the long layoff, had a huge impact on the quality of the game this season,” Britz said.
Following the end of the 2015/16 season, the NPL found itself without a sponsor after the expiry of a three-year sponsorship deal with Mobile Telecommunications Limited.