Henrico Botes: Virgil Vries couldn't handle the pressure at Kaizer Chiefs

The retired striker feels that the clubless keeper should have been included in Namibia's final Afcon squad

Former Bidvest Wits striker Henrico Botes says Namibian goalkeeper Virgil Vries will bounce back following his misfortune at Kaizer Chiefs.

Botes says he is focusing on building his coaching career after retiring from professional football last year following a stint with the University of Pretoria.

“I retired and when your time is up, you got to accept and you can’t force things. I am now busy with coaching. I started with my badges when I was at Tuks,” Botes told Goal.

“You will remember I played for Tuks in the 2017/18 season in the National First Division (NFD) and that’s when I started with my licence and stopped playing in 2018,” he added.

“I am coaching the young ones in South Africa and I felt I had to do it the right way. It’s not easy, but I am enjoying it. Teaching the young ones how to play is not easy, but I am happy and enjoying every minute of it – so far so good,” noted the former striker.

The Namibian football legend went on to comment on Vries, who was released by Chiefs towards the end of the recent season after making a number of costly mistakes.

“Well it’s been difficult for him and I was actually shocked when he moved there. I think he did well at Maritzburg United and for me, I think he would have moved to a smaller club where there’s less pressure. A club like Wits and SuperSport (United) where he will get more development,” he continued.

“I played with him in the national team and I know he is a talented keeper, I can attest to that. I know once a goalkeeper makes mistakes they get amplified 10 times. It’s unfortunate for him because he made mistakes here and there,” responded Botes.

“But I believe he will bounce back, focus into the future and revive his career. I think what happened at Chiefs is not a true reflection of him as a player. After all, mistakes are part of the game and we cannot avoid them in football,” reflected the legend. 

Moreover, the 39-year-old retired striker says Vries should have been included in Namibia's final 23-man squad for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.

“Actually I couldn’t really say why because I am not sure of the selection criteria. I am not part of the process, but I know he was part of the squad when the league stopped this side,” he added.

“They camped in Pretoria and went overseas, I think in Dubai. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make the cut, if I was a coach or part of the selection I would definitely include him,” said the youth coach.

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“He is experienced and has been with the national team for many years. But we just have to wish the team all the best and I am sure he will be back and looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding his career. He is still young and obviously he has a chance to start again, refresh himself because I feel he has a lot to offer in the game, but it’s all up to him,” he concluded.

Namibia have been drawn into Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off on June 21 in Egypt.

The Brave Warriors will begin their Afcon campaign against Morocco in Cairo, before meeting South Africa and Ivory Coast as they look to reach the knockout stages.