Mannetti, Baxter's contrasting views on Cosafa

09 Jul 2017 12:10pm
By Maqonda Ndlovu
MORULENG, 09 JUL (NAMPA) – Brave Warriors Coach Ricardo Mannetti and his counterpart, Stuart Baxter of South Africa, differ on how the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) can be used to optimally benefit member associations.
The two coaches were speaking to the media in Moruleng on Friday evening, following their sides’ Cosafa Plate Final, which South Africa won one-nil.
Following a question from Nampa on how the two think the tournament should be structured and played to reap increased benefits from it, Baxter said while he is fine with the current format, he would like the regional association to sit down with its members and see if they can come up with some improvements.
“For a long time this tournament has been called a developmental competition. So why can we not have the associations say to their coaches, lets develop players instead of going all out to win? Even now, they are using ‘developmental referees’ at this competition,” said Baxter.
He added that for him, it will be a proper platform to develop players who can one day say they passed through the Cosafa on their way to playing the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup matches.
Mannetti was of a different opinion, saying it will not work well with Namibia for several reasons, one of them being the limited personnel and financial resources.
“We are different from other countries when it comes to depth. Zimbabwe can do that, South Africa too. Maybe the word development differs from country to country in this case,” Mannetti said.
He used Zimbabwe as an example of depth, saying they have three sets of national teams and players, while Namibia has one for men and another for women.
He said countries like Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho hardly qualify for major tournaments, and doing well in Cosafa is a good measurement of success.
Mannetti noted that for Namibia, Cosafa is used to test combinations in the competitive environment, as well as help players feel the standard of international football.
Speculation amongst football officials and fans in the region suggest a relook at the model of the Cosafa Cup.
Some countries have in the past withdrawn from participating, while some players have requested their team coaches not to select them.
Other associations like those in Angola and South Africa have in the past and present used under-20 and under-23 players at the tournament, which is intentionally reserved for senior national teams.
The tournament itself has in the past produced gifted players from the region, who have gone on to achieve wonderful things in their careers on the continent and internationally.
These include Johannes ‘Congo’ Hindjou of Namibia, Brian Baloyi of South Africa, Dipsy Selolwane of Botswana, Chris Katongo of Zambia, Manuel 'Tico-Tico' Bucuane of Mozambique and Peter Ndlovu of Zimbabwe amongst others.