WINDHOEK: The national under-17 football team is busy preparing to host Burkina Faso next month in the African Under-17 Championship.
This match is scheduled to take place on 13 October in Windhoek.
In a media statement issued by the management of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) here on Friday, head coach of the under-17 national team, Christy Guruseb, said the team has been training ever since their return from Botswana last month, where they finished second in a four-nations tournament in that country.
“The boys are very committed and determined to play for their country. They are learning a lot and very fast, and as the time goes by they will understand what is at stake to represent Namibia,” stated Guruseb.
The coach, however, stressed that he is only working with Windhoek-based players at the moment and that has affected the team’s preparations somehow, because several players residing outside Windhoek could not be incorporated into the team’s training yet due to the upcoming end of year examinations.
“Most of the players are school-going children. Obviously, as we are approaching the final examination period for Grade 10s, we have to make sure the training sessions do not affect their preparations for exams too much,” noted Guruseb.
The coach revealed that the team selectors have so far identified some other players not in training, but it will take some time before these players can be called to be part of the current team.
“We have some players that are showing great potential. We are now busy assessing and scanning them as well to see if they are the real deal or not.
‘We are facing the reigning African champions (Burkina Faso) at this level, and we need to have the best of players at that level in Namibia as well,” explained Guruseb.
Namibia plays Burkina Faso in the second round of the qualifiers after they (Namibia) got a bye in the first round, following the withdrawal of the Reunion Island from the qualifiers.
The second leg will be played in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso two weeks after 13 October.
The winner of the Namibia/Burkina Faso fixture will face the winner of the Ethiopia/Tunisia clash, with the eventual winner booking their place at the bi-annual championships in Morocco in April next year.