Being nominated by CAF is special: Benjamin

WINDHOEK: Senior national football team coach, Collin Benjamin, has said Namibia’s nomination as National Team of the Year in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards is something to be proud of, and proof that the team has had a special year.

CAF on Wednesday announced the nominees for the men’s categories of the 2023 CAF Awards scheduled for 11 December 2023 in Marrakech, Morocco.

Teams nominated in the National Team of the Year category include Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania. The 2022 International Federation of Association Football quarterfinalist Morocco, and Senegal, who won the 2021 African Nations Cup, also formed part of the list.

Meanwhile, Namibian, and South African Premier Soccer League goal poacher Peter Shalulile, also received a nomination in the Interclub Player of the Year category.

In an interview with Nampa on Wednesday, Benjamin said it feels special to be nominated alongside some of the biggest nations in the continent.

“It feels good to be part of the list, at least somebody looked out there and said something special is happening in Namibia. We have not had a league for four years, yet we still managed to qualify for the continent’s biggest event,” he said.

Benjamin noted that in the past it took Namibia 10 years to qualify for Afcon, but this time around despite having an inactive league, they did it in four years.

He added that being in the same group as Senegal who are the current African champions and Morocco, who performed well at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, showed Namibia has had a special year and it’s something to be proud of as a nation.

A preliminary list for the various categories of the CAF Awards was compiled by a panel of CAF technical experts, African football legends and selected media representatives from several countries.

The nominees’ performance under consideration for the awards is from November 2022 and September 2023.

A list of 30 players were nominated for the top prize of CAF African Player of the Year, while 20 players have made the cut for the CAF Interclub Player of the Year.

The Coach of the Year, CAF National Team of the Year, and Club of the Year categories have 10 nominees each, as does the CAF Young Player of the Year category for players under 21 years.

CAF also introduced the CAF African Goalkeeper of the Year Category (Men and Women) for the first time. The awards will in addition reward and celebrate exceptional players, officials and administrators during the period under review.

The ultimate winner of each category will be decided by a voting panel consisting of the CAF Technical Committee, media professionals, head coaches, and captains of member associations and clubs involved in the group stages of the Interclub competitions.

The nominees for the women’s categories will be announced in due course.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency