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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 11:00 GMT
Namibia playing for Bamfuchile
By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport

Sydney Plaatjies
Plaatjes is mindful of Bamfuchile's work with Namibia
Namibia midfielder Sydney Plaatjies says late coach Ben Bamfuchile will be at the forefront of the team's thoughts at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

The 47-year-old Zambian, who masterminded Namibia's shock qualification for Ghana, died of illness on 27 December.

"We're doing it for him," the left-winger, 26, told BBC Sport.

"Obviously we're doing it for the country as well, but I think we all have that in mind.

"He contributed a lot for Namibia and for all of us as individual players."

Upon his appointment in 2006, Bamfuchile scoured Namibia for emerging talent and he unearthed most of the squad that will contest Group A.

In tragic circumstances, the Brave Warriors must do without their inspirational coach when they take on rivals Morocco, Ghana and Guinea.

'Impossible situation'

Dutchman Arie Schans, who was selected to assist Bamfuchile last month, has now taken the reins but only met his squad for the first time on 3 January.
My biggest dream for the tournament is that we can make one big surprise
Namibia coach Arie Schans

"Our biggest opponent is time," the former coach of lowly Bhutan told BBC Sport.

"Ghana will have started before I have the chance to know the players.

"Of course, it's an almost impossible situation to do it this way but we're looking forward to being there."

Schans has had only two friendlies to watch his players in action, both of which ended in defeat - losing 3-0 to Egypt and 3-1 to Senegal.

Bamfuchile's death means a man who knew nothing about Namibian football six weeks ago will lead the team in Ghana, a country he has never visited.

"When the Namibians contacted me through the Dutch football association (in December), I must be honest and say I didn't know anything about Namibian football," he admits.
Arie Schans
Last month Schans knew nothing about Namibian football

"My biggest dream for the tournament is that we can make one big surprise - and in my view, a big surprise would be to win one match out there.

"If that happened I think that not only I, but all the players and the Namibian country could be very proud."

And Plaatjies, who plays his club football for South Africa's Jomo Cosmos, is similarly realistic.

"Since we've got a young team, our objective is to go there for the experience, play against the big names in Africa and give our best," he explained.

"This will serve as part of our preparations for both the 2010 Nations and World Cups and that's what we're aiming for - not going to Ghana to make miracles but as a phase in our development."

Namibia open their campaign against Morocco in Accra on 21 February.



SEE ALSO
Namibia name squad for Ghana
11 Jan 08 |  Africa Cup of Nations
Bamfuchile dies in Zambia
28 Dec 07 |  Africa Cup of Nations


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