Former player inspired to get into coaching by Football Manager video game now leading Namibia

Brooks Peck

Football Manager has inspired many a gamer emboldened by their virtual success to apply for real-life coaching positions, but for Namibia's new manager Ricardo Mannetti, it actually paid off. On Monday, Roger Palmgren quit as Namibia manager a month after taking the job claiming death threats against his family. So with a World Cup qualifier against Nigeria just 48 hours away, 38-year-old Mannetti was promoted from his role as an assistant seven years after playing Football Manager with his brother in law inspired him to get into coaching.

Mannetti had 55 caps for Namibia and played club football in South Africa until he retired in 2006. It was with his post-retirement free time that his love of Football Manager took hold. From Reuters:

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"I wasn't into video games before that, I never had any interest in playing them, but Football Manager captured my imagination," Mannetti told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

"I was always winning and everyone said it proved I would make a good coach."

Shortly after retiring from playing, Mannetti accepted an offer to coach his boyhood club in Windhoek after they were almost relegated.

"I thought 'let me give a shot' and that's how I got into the job," he said.

His skills in the game apparently translated to real life since he won the Namibian Cup and finished second in the league his first season. He coached the Namibian U-20 team for two years before becoming Palmgren's assistant and unexpectedly taking over for him. Now he will really put his Football Manager experience to the test by facing group-leader and Africa Cup of Nations winner Nigeria on his second day in the job.

As overwhelming as that might seem, Reuters adds that Mannetti still has one thing on his mind. "One downside, he added, was that it meant there was no more time for computer games."

Football Manager: It's a helluva drug.

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