Monday 17 May 2021
  • :
  • :

Back off from Mbaeva – Mbaha

Retired former Brave Warriors goalkeeper Athiel Mbaha has come out in defense of much criticised ‘keeper and former club mate Maximilian Mbaeva for his goalkeeping errors against Zambia.
Despite the defeat, Namibia managed to qualify for their third AFCON qualifier thanks to their better head-to-head over Mozambique in group K, after Mozambique played out to a 2-all stalemate against group winner Guinea-Bissau, while Zambia finished at the bottom of group K.
Namibia finished in the group level on eight points with Mozambique, while Guinea-Bissau’s draw meant that they finished as group winner with nine points.
Mbaeva was selected ahead of regular ‘keeper Virgil Vries, who has struggled to get game time at Kaizer Chiefs, which forced Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti to put Mbaeva ahead of Vries.
Vries is now the third choice ‘keeper at Chiefs, after the signing of former Chippa United ‘keeper Daniel Akpeyi in January as a back-up to number one stopper Itumeleng Khune, who is out due to injury the whole season.
After the final whistle, some Namibians went onto social media to criticise Mbaeva, saying that he is the reason for the four goals conceded and some felt that he could have done better.
Mbaeva plays club football for Golden Arrows in the ABSA Premiership League but has for the most part of the season been on the bench due to injuries.
The decision to play him was made by Mannetti, following Mbaeva’s impressive display against Baroka FC in a league match on 13 March where which Arrows beat Baroka  1-0.
The critics felt that Mbaeva could have saved Augustine Mulenga’s  shot from the edge of the box in the 12th minute and Lazarus Kambole’s goal that passed through the legs of Mbaeva, three minutes after Peter Shalulile had pulled one back for Namibia in the 89th minute when the score was 3-1.
Speaking to the media Mbaha, who was Namibia’s first choice at the 2008 AFCON in Ghana in 2008 said that Mbaeva deserved his spot ahead of Vries against Zambia and that he should be first choice at AFCON, if he continues to play for his club.
“Even top players like Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo make mistakes when they miss penalties.
Mbaeva deserved to start because he had a good game against Baroka at club level and kept a clean sheet.
“Vries is a good ‘keeper’ also, but he lacked match fitness. The reason why we conceded those goals is because Mbaeva did not get full support from the defence. If Vries starts playing for Chiefs then he should get his place back in the national team,” Mbaha said.
Mbaha knows very well how it feels like to be criticised as a goalkeeper.
In 2014 he was the reason why Namibia lost narrowly 1-0 to Ghana at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek in an international friendly match where Mbaha failed to control a back pass which resulted in Ghana’s striker Sulley Mohammed scoring in the 29th minute.
“Yes, I did a mistake as it happens in football. Football does not blame you but the haters do blame you.
Ronny Kanalelo [former Brave Warriors great and now assistant coach of the Brave Warriors] conceded 7 goals against Egypt, but my highest goals conceded was a 4-0 loss to Burkina Faso away,” said Mbaha.
Mbaha is currently the goalkeeping coach at African Stars in Namibia where he was more of an understudy to Mbaeva before Mbaeva was signed by Golden Arrows in 2014.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *