Stars revamp coaching staff

African Stars have announced the appointment of Mervin Mbakera as the assistant coach to Mohamed Gargo, in place of Andrew Tjahikika.

According to a media release, Tjahikika now becomes the club’s chief scout.

“Mbakera brings with him years of football technical management, coaching, and development experience. He has worked with many notable clubs such as Life Fighters and Tigers.

“In addition, he has also coached Namibia’s national under-17 and u-20 girls’ teams. He holds a Namibia Football Association (NFA) C-licence as well a Confederation of African Football (CAF) C-licence and a DFB international licence from the German Football Federation,” the statement said.

The rest of the coaching department remains unchanged, with Gargo retained as head coach, while Athiel Mbaha is the goalkeeper coach.

Sherwin Vries is the team’s fitness trainer and Munashe Chinyama comes in as the physiotherapist.

Long-serving team manager Lesley Kozonguizi retains his position, along with kit manager Uasana Katjinamunene.

Salome Hei, the executive director at Stars, said the reshuffle was done to redefine the roles of the technical team, while looking at their availability.

“Andrew (Tjahikika) has a career outside football, hence he is not available full-time as a coach. Our coach is a full-time coach, so he needs a full-time assistant. That is why we moved him to scouting, where his experience will help the technical team even more,” he explained.

Hei said trying to conquer Africa will demand a lot from the team, hence the continued exploration of getting the best personnel.

On the rumours that they were also planning on approaching former Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti, Hei said it would be ill-advised to ignore his experience and value.

“He is by far the most successful coach in Namibia’s football history. Any person who ignores his experience and value do so at their own peril. We at African Stars are aware of his capabilities in moulding a team, hence we are planning on engaging him sooner or later,” he added.

Stars are participating in the Caf Champions League, and have made it their target to reach the group stages.

They currently lead Kampala Capital City Authority by 3-2 in the preliminary round, with the second leg set for Uganda on 24 August.