B/Warriors hopefull on empty stadium

By Michael Uugwanga

BRAVE Warriors coach Bobby Samaria has said that the absence of the homeside spectators in their upcoming match at Stade du 26 Mars National Stadium in Bamako, Mali could favour Namibia when the two nations meet in their third round match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Cup qualifiers.

The Brave Warriors are currently on three points from two matches, while the Eagles of Mali are joint top with Guinea on four points each from two matches, with Namibia’s only victory coming from a match against Chad last year.

Namibia heads into the qualifiers from an impressive 1-all draw away to South Africa’s Bafana Bafana last month in an international friendly and will be looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat away to Guinea which occurred on November 17 2019.

Speaking to Confidente Sports Desk ahead of the clash against the West African nation, Samaria said that his side could be favoured by the absence of the Malian supporters due to Covid-19 rules.

“Those players (West Africans) are used to playing in packed stadiums, so it is down to individual players to showcase their quality in the absence of the twelfth man of the opposition.

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  We have to look at ourselves at the end of the day and not only rely on the absence of their supporters,” he said.

Samaria knows very well that a draw could put Namibia in a comfortable position on the log while a win could just open the group wide in case bottom team Chad beats Guinea in the other group match in Conakry before the return matches that are scheduled to take place next week (17 November) with Namibia hosting Mali at the Sam Nujoma Stadium while Chad plays host to Guinea.

Samaria is also aiming to become the third local coach to guide Namibia to AFCON after legendary coach Rusten Mogane led Namibia to the 1998 AFCON Cup in Burkina Faso with Ricardo Mannetti being the last coach to achieve the feat when he guided the team to the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.

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Other good news for Namibia is that Mali’s coach has chosen not to call captain Abdoulaye Diaby of Spain’s Getafe and Porto striker Moussa Maréga, however players like Kouamé N’Guessan, Nouha Dicko, ex-Lyon defender Youssouf Koné and Saudi Arabia-based Ibrahima Tandia have made their return to The Eagles’ nest.

“You know that we are the underdogs and being the underdogs is always good because you can surprise the favourites and in this case it is Mali.

Mali has assembled a squad of 35 professional players and only two local-based players; (Adama Keita – Kamsar, Guinea) and (Djigui Diarra – Stade Malien). We are only a point behind Mali, so a draw will be a good result,” said Samaria.


The Brave Warriors are in Group A alongside Guinea, Mali and Chad, with the group winner getting an automatic spot to the AFCON tournament that is set to take place in Cameroon next year.

Below is the 25-man Brave Warriors squad to face Mali:

Loydt Kazapua, Virgil Vries, Edward Maova, Ryan Nyambe,Ananias Gebhardt,Riaan Hanamub, Emilio Martin, Vitapi Ngaruka, Larry Horaeb, Denzil Haoseb, Peter Shalulile, Deon Hotto, Dynamo Fredericks, Teberius Lombard, Pertus Shitembi,  Immanuel Heita, Obrey Amseb, Absalom Iimbondi , Marcel Papama, Alfeus Handura, Elmo Kambindu, Hendrik Somaeb, Panduleni Nekundi, Salomon Omseb and Benson Shilongo.