WINDHOEK: Collin Benjamin, the coach of Namibia’s senior national football team, has expressed pride in the team’s nomination for National Team of the Year in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards, citing it as a testament to their remarkable year.
According to Namibian Press Agency, Namibia has been listed alongside Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Mozambique, and Tanzania for the esteemed award. Morocco, the 2022 International Federation of Association Football quarterfinalist, and Senegal, the 2021 African Nations Cup winner, are also contenders.
In addition to the national team’s recognition, Namibian striker and South African Premier Soccer League’s prominent scorer Peter Shalulile is in the running for the Interclub Player of the Year award.
During an interview with the Namibia Press Agency, Benjamin shared his enthusiasm for the nomination, emphasizing the significance of being acknowledged in a field of prominent football nations in Africa. He remarked on the challenges faced by the team, including the absence of an active national league for four years, and highlighted their successful qualification for Afcon, a feat that previously took a decade.
The list of nominees, spanning various categories, was compiled by a panel consisting of CAF technical experts, African football legends, and media representatives from across the continent. The period under review for the awards spans from November 2022 to September 2023.
For the coveted CAF African Player of the Year title, thirty players have been nominated, with twenty in contention for the Interclub Player of the Year. The categories for Coach of the Year, National Team of the Year, Club of the Year, and Young Player of the Year all feature ten nominees each.
This year also marks the introduction of the CAF African Goalkeeper of the Year Category, which will be awarded to exceptional performers in both men’s and women’s football.
The final decision for each category’s winner will be in the hands of a select voting panel, which includes members of the CAF Technical Committee, media professionals, and the head coaches and captains of the national associations and clubs that reached the group stages of the CAF Interclub competitions.
The CAF will soon announce the nominees for the women’s categories, with the awards ceremony scheduled to take place on 11 December 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco.