When Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti calls out the Namibian football fans to come out and paint Sam Nujoma Stadium red in support of the national team, supporters are pushed to a dead end as no local shops in the city sells the national team replica shirts.
Namibia played Botswana over the weekend at the Sam Nujoma Stadium where they thrashed The Zebras 3-1 in an international friendly. The only red shirts which could be seen in the excited crowd was the t-shirts of English clubs Manchester United, Liverpool and a few African Stars T-shirts.
The Namibian fans have been criticized for their lack of patriotism in local football, but it seems the means to live up to expectations are limited.
“Mannetti tells us to go to the stadium and paint it red but there is no Namibian red in the shops. Yesterday I called the Namibia Football Association (NFA) to enquire about the availability of the team’s replica shirts and they couldn’t answer me right away. The person who was rude to start with, hung up after telling me to call after five minutes. I called after the said minutes and no one picked up the telephone. It was after a while that a source from the soccer house told me that there were no shirts,” said Joseph Matias, a Brave Warriors and Manchester United fan.
Matias added that he went on to look for a shirt at sports shop OTB, but his efforts were still fruitless. “I searched almost everywhere but could not find anything. Even China Town does not sell. So tell me how we as fans will be patriotic when we don’t even have national attire? So, I would rather wear my ManU shirt to the games until the football body does something about this.
I will be happy even if a shop at China Town does it for us. It really does not make sense to have foreign club shirts sold in Namibia but we do not sell our very own national team shirts at home yet they ask us to be patriotic,” Matias said. Speaking to the NFA President yesterday about the issue, Frans Mbidi shared the same sentiments as the fan saying they are busy identifying other means meet the fans halfway.
“We are not happy with the way the current brand [Adidas] is treating us so we are exploring other options that will supply us with the need at hand.”
He added; “There are other brands that we have identified and they can provide us with shirts for the fans. We understand that the fans want to identify themselves with their favourite team, but they cannot do so because there is nothing. So it
is a matter of urgency and the football body will look into it soonest,” said Mbidi.
The football house in the country has over the years been unable to deliver the basics the masses. A lot of scrutiny has come from the fans but little has been done. The Brave Warriors will be taking on Zimbabwe next month in an international friendly and the fans will have no option but to rock up in their European club shirts.