Namibia have looked to quickly put the disappointment of failure in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers behind them and are plotting a new course for the future.
The Brave Warriors had lofty ambitions once their neighbours South Africa were named as hosts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals, but they were eliminated after finishing bottom of their qualifying group. It was a major setback for the ambitious team who have far exceeded expectations in the past, notably reaching the CAF African Cup of Nations final twice.
Namibia might have a large land mass but it has a small and disparate population, and as a result the Warriors achievements have sometimes surpassed the reality of their resources. Their future ambitions, though, stretch to encompass regularly being amongst the African superpowers and contenders for all tournaments.
Their next target will be qualification for the 2012 CAF African Cup of Nations, to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. However, those preliminaries do not begin until one year from now, which means that between their elimination from the South Africa 2010 qualifiers and the start of the 2012 African Cup of Nations preliminaries, there is a 24-month hiatus.
Namibia are determined to use the time productively, to forge a side that can be more competitive in the future. To this end, they have turned to the unheralded Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet, whose tenure began last year and who has since amassed a record of four wins, four draws and a lone defeat in nine matches in charge.
Their latest result was a convincing 4-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo, which contributed to Namibia jumping 12 places in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The Brave Warriors are now hovering just outside of the top 100, significantly removed now from an all-time low of 167th in the world, a position which they inhabited just three years ago.
"It is a short term goal to do well in the FIFA rankings and to get into the world's top 100," Saintfiet told FIFA.com. "Long term goal is to be ready for the next qualifiers. We have to be in the final field for the next Cup of Nations," he insists.
Saintfiet has spent the last year running his eye over all the available talent in the country. "I've made a road map, based a little on what Guus Hiddink put together for the Koreans before they hosted the 2002 World Cup, and they had to play a lot of friendly matches to get ready for the tournament.
"I've tried as many as 65 players in games and in training camps and I've seen as many games in the Namibian premier league and other divisions as I can. I now have the time to work with the players and to train my tactics. By the time the qualifiers start, I'll have a selection of 25 payers who know what we want to do in every situation. It is not every coach who gets a four year contract and a decent opportunity to develop the team."
Calculation of points for a single match
P = M x I x T x C
M: points for Match result
Teams gain 3 points for a victory, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a defeat. In a penalty shoot-out, the winning team gains 2 points and the losing team gains 1 point.
I: Importance of match
Friendly match (including small competitions): I = 1.0
FIFA World Cup™ qualifier or confederation-level qualifier: I = 2.5
Confederation-level final competition or FIFA Confederations Cup: I = 3.0
FIFA World Cup™ final competition: I = 4.0
T: strength of opposing Team
The strength of the opponents is based on the formula: 200 – the ranking position of the opponents.As an exception to this formula, the team at the top of the ranking is always assigned the value 200 and the teams ranked 150th and below are assigned a minimum value of 50. The ranking position is taken from the opponents’ ranking in the most recently published FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
C: strength of Confederation
When calculating matches between teams from different confederations, the mean value of the confederations to which the two competing teams belong is used. The strength of a confederation is calculated on the basis of the number of victories by that confederation at the last three FIFA World Cup™ competitions (see following page). Their values are as follows:
|Points Last Month|
|Points outside Ranking calculation|