Brave Warriors coach, Ricardo Mannetti, has included Petrus Shitembi, Hendrik Somaeb and Roger Katjiteo in his 18-man squad that will play against Zimbabwe this weekend, even when the Namibian Football Association (NFA) is yet to obtain CAF clearances for the players.
Namibia host Zimbabwe in Windhoek on Sunday in the first leg of the second round of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers match, with the return leg set for Harare on 23 July.
The winner between Namibia and Zimbabwe will player the winner between Lesotho and Comoros, with the winner of that tie qualifying for the CHAN finals, which will run from 11 January- 2 February 2018 in Kenya.
The CHAN tournament is only open for players that play in the domestic leagues in their respective countries.
Shitembi and Somaeb are currently unattached to any local club, which makes them ineligible to play in the CHAN competition.
Shitembi is a free agent after he played for South Africa’s first division outfit Stellenbosch University FC, while Somaeb played in South Africa for Jomo Cosmos before he was released by the first division club last month, although his contract was supposed to end on 31 July.
Coastal club, Blue Waters, have indicated their interest in the player. According to the club’s executive member, Robert Shimooshili, they are only waiting for Somaeb’s international clearance before they can register him.
“We have written a letter to the NFA, but they have not yet responded to the request,” Shimooshili said.
Katjiteo recently received his international clearance from former club Botswana Defence Force and has signed up with Civics on a month’s contract.
Katjiteo told the Windhoek Observer that he had signed with Civics on Wednesday, in order to play in the CHAN competition.
He, however, said he will return to Botswana after the CHAN qualifiers, where a local club is after his signature.
“I signed with Civics for one month, just for me to play in the CHAN competition. There is a club that is interested in me, but I cannot tell you now until I have signed the contract with that club,” Katjiteo said.
Brave Warriors Assistant Team Manager, Jakes Amaning, said they have written to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) this week to have the players registered in time for the match on Sunday.
Amaning said there is no timeframe as to when the registration of players for the CHAN competition should be completed.
“We are still waiting from CAF, as we have requested them to have these players registered in time for the match. There is no timeframe as to when the registration should be done.
“So far, Absalom Iimbondi, who was on loan in Botswana at Mochudi Centre Chiefs, is eligible to play because he was just there on loan.
“Shitembi was just at Stellenbosch for a few months, but we are working on having him registered for CHAN. With Somaeb, there is no problem because he can register with Blue Waters. We will let you know once we get the responses from CAF,” Amaning said.
Earlier in the week, Brave Warriors coach, Ricardo Mannetti, had said he was still unsure who to pick from the players who are currently unattached to any local club.
Speaking on Tuesday, during the Brave Warriors’ training session at the NFA technical training centre, Mannetti said players such as Wangu Gome and Virgil Vries, who were recently released by their South African clubs, could also be considered for the competition, but does not want to take risks by including them in Sunday’s match.
Gome played for Bidvest Wits, while Vries played for Maritzburg United in the South Africa’s ABSA premiership.
“I have not included Wangu in the training camp, because I do not know about his situation. With Vries, I just heard from rumours that he will join Baroka FC. As we speak, I do not know who to include in the CHAN because of the whole issue of the league in Namibia,” Mannetti said.
CAF Media Officer, Junior Binyam, confirmed receiving the NFA request, but said the federation would only pronounce its position on the matter at a later stage.
Binyam explained that a player can only be eligible to play in the CHAN if he is registered with a local club in his respective country’s league.
“I fully understand with Namibia’s situation that there is no league, but the rules indicate that the player must belong to a local club. We told NFA that we will get back to them,” Binyam said.
Brave Warriors Squad
Lloyd Kazapua (goalkeeper), Edward Maova (goalkeeper), Charles Hambira (defender), Larry Horaeb (defender), Edmund Kambanda (defender), Tiberius Lombard (defender), Riaan !Hanamub (defender), Ferdinand Karongee (defender), Immanuel Heita (midfielder), Benyamen Nenkavu (midfielder), Ronald Ketjijere (midfielder), Dynamo Fredericks (midfielder), Absalom Iimbondi (midfielder), Petrus Shitembi (midfielder), Hendrik Somaeb (striker), Itamuna Keimuine (striker), Muna Katupose (striker) and Roger Katjiteo (striker).