Brave Warriors need to play for home crowds: Benjamin

National senior men’s football team coach Collin Benjamin has called on those responsible for fixing the football stadiums to do so for the national teams to start competing at home in front of their supporters.

The draw for the 2026 International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) World Cup African Preliminary Qualifiers took place on Thursday in Ivory Coast alongside the 45th Confederation of African Football (CAF) General Assembly.

Namibia is drawn in Group H alongside Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Malawi, Liberia and Sao Tome and Principe.

In an interview with Nampa on Friday, Benjamin said the lesson learned from competing at the 2023 Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup is that Namibia has talent but the athletes need to be exposed to more international matches.

“We did well last year at the Cosafa Cup but this year, we got a rude awakening. We learned that talent gets you there, but hard work will keep you there. We know we have potential and talent. For us to stay and be a force to be reckoned with at the international level, we need to keep working hard and exposing these players to as many international matches as possible,” Benjamin said.

The coach added that Namibia’s 2026 FIFA World Cup African Preliminary Group for the qualifiers look exciting and equally distributed from a strength and zonal perspective.

“Everything is possible when it’s done intentionally. We cannot be singing a song, and nothing is done. It’s important to win at home, and that needs to happen when we can start playing our games at home,” he said.

Benjamin stated that fixing the Independence Stadium will be a lot of work, but this will make their job of getting points at home during the world cup qualifiers easier.

“It will be exciting to see our president watching matches at home as he did in the past. We are looking forward to competing at home and making our country proud. Things should be done to make this wish possible for every Namibian,” he said.

During this year’s tabling of the 2023/24 national budget, Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi said that N.dollars 473.2 million was allocated to the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, of which N.dollars 162.5 million was allotted for the upgrading and renovation of the dilapidated Windhoek Independence Stadium over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.

Since the announcement of this budget in February 2023, nothing has been done at the country’s sports cathedral.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency