The resignation of Namibian coach Bernard Kaanjuka on Monday could be an advantage for the Flames when the two teams meet in a return leg on June 8, former national team coaches Yasin Osman and Alex Masanjala have said.
Following Saturday’s World Cup defeat to Malawi, Kaanjuka opted to resign rather than face the indignity of being fired by Namibian Football Association (NFA).
Kaanjuka quit his post after admitting failure to qualify the team for both 2013 Africa Cup Nations and the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
“I really from the bottom of my heart like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to coach the Brave Warriors. I enjoyed it very much, but I think the time has come to part ways with the association because I failed in my mission to qualify the team for both the African Cup of Nations and the World Cup.
“Secondly, every person is unique….I will always respect you Mr. President and our relationship should not be destroyed by football,” Kaanjuka wrote in an e-mail to NFA president John Muinjo.
Osman said the development means the Brave Warriors will have to start again and build a new team.
“Obviously, there will be no continuity as the new coach will have to start again. This could affect the team’s performance because it will take time for the players to gel and to get used to the new system,” he said.
Osman, however, had a word of warning, saying this could also spell danger for Malawi in the event that NFA recruits a better coach.
“The new coach might just be able to get the best out of the players and that could spell danger for us. We need to prepare thoroughly if we are to beat Namibia. We are playing at home and the pressure might just be too much on the players,” he said.
Masanjala said time was too short for a new coach to mould a new team.
“A new trainer will also have to choose players of his choice. This means he needs time to assemble a new team and teach them his style of play. This cannot be done in just three months. We have an advantage,” he said.
Ironically, prior to the Malawi game, Kaanjuka had said recent changes in the Malawi team would play to their advantage.
Before the game, Namibia had never lost to Malawi in a competitive game in over 15 years.
The Flames caught up with Group F leaders Super Eagles of Nigeria on five points.
In another match, Nigeria drew 1-1 with Kenya’s Harambee Stars who are third on four points.
Flames leader of delegation to Namibia, Paul Mzungu, was on Tuesday least surprised by Kaanjuka’s resignation, noting that he expected nothing short of a win.
“He was very emotional after the game. Looking at the huge expectations, I think that is the most honourable thing he could do,” Mzungu said.