Namibia name German to Technical Director post
WINDHOEK (AFM) - The Namibia Football Association named German national Jochen Figge as their new Technical Director at a press conference on Monday.

An experienced coach with a strong and varied background in African football, Figge was selected for the job by Namibia’s Football Association (NFA) and the German Football Association (DFB), who have a cooperation agreement with the southern African country and former colony. His salary will be paid by the German Foreign Office, and he is due to begin work immediately pending approval of his work permits and documentation.

The 62-year-old Figge, who has reportedly signed a two-year contract with a possible two-year extension, replaces Seth Boois, who resigned after two-and-a-half years in the position two weeks ago after informing the NFA that he was stepping down some six months before.

After a playing career with Werder Bremen and a host of lower division clubs in Germany, Figge turned his attentions to coaching youth players in 1966. Since then he has acquired two Masters Degrees through the DFB and the German Olympic Committee. From 1981, he started working in various developing countries around the world including Guinea, Zambia, Botswana, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mozambique, Uganda and even Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean.

His highest-profile job to date came in February of 2002 when he was named head coach of the Ethiopian national team. However, despite leading the side to second place in their 2004 African Cup of Nations qualifying group, he was sacked in May of 2003 for "failing to provide the documents" needed to support his application for the post.

The Mann for the job
Markus Weidner, the Head of Coaching, Education and Marketing at the DFB, who also attended the press conference where Figge was named, said that the appointment was ideal for the development of Namibian football.

“(Namibia) will have a very experienced technical director in Figge,” he said. “He has coached for the past 20 years, mainly in Africa, and he is also a FIFA instructor.”

The new director revealed that he would be helping the NFA with development at all levels and forms, including youth and women’s football. The primary goal will be to guide the Brave Warriors to their first-ever FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa in 2010. Qualifying for the world showpiece in Africa begins in just over two months’ time and the Namibians, who reached their second African Cup of Nations this year, will be keen to keep up recent progress.

Head coach Arie Schans, who told African Football Media that he has met Figge once before but does not know him, led the southern African country’s national team at the African Cup of Nations in January and February. Despite being eliminated in the first round, they did themselves proud with a point from a 1-1 draw against heavily fancied Guinea.

The Dutchman will know he has a hill to climb if he is to bring the Namibians to their first World Cup, as they are drawn into a tough Group 2 alongside Guinea, Zimbabwe and Kenya. The winners of the 12 preliminary groups and the best eight runners-up move on to the next stage which consists of five groups of five.

The winners of each of those groups qualify alongside hosts South Africa for the World Cup in 2010, while the best three from each group go to the 2010 African Nations cup hosted in Angola.


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