Namibia plotting an ambush for Bafana
…as Brave Warriors touch down in Cairo
THE senior national football team alias Brave Warriors touched down in Cairo, Egypt this week to kick off the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign against Morocco on Sunday after a successful training camp held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Brave Warriors played an international friendly match against the Black Stars of Ghana where they defeated Ghana by a solitary goal.
Though Namibia will open their Group D match against Morocco the senior national team’s technical committee has their eyes squarely on their neighbours South Africa when the two countries rub shoulders in what is expected to be an epic encounter scheduled for 28 June.
Government through the Ministry of Sports, Youth and National Service secured over N$ 19 million for the senior national participation in the 2019 AFCON showdown.
Speaking to Sowetanlive.co.za this week Namibia’s head coach Ricardo Mannetti promised to record the country’s first-ever victory at the continental flagship football tournament that will for the first time in the competition’s history feature 24-nations competing for top honours.
Namibia has been billed as the minnows of Bafana Bafana’s group at the Africa Cup of Nations‚ but a surprise 1-0 victory over Ghana in a warm-up match has fueled belief in the side.
Bafana‚ Morocco and Ivory Coast provide formidable opposition to the Brave Warriors‚ but coach Mannetti believes he has nothing to fear.
Former Santos star Mannetti‚ who will be one of the longest-serving coaches at the continental finals‚ having been in charge for four years‚ and has been building this side since a surprise win at the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup in 2015.
They are a well-oiled unit and according to the coach‚ one capable of giving anybody a stern test as they look ahead to a tournament opener against Morocco.
“The Ghana match gave us a lot of confidence going into the Morocco match and we are positive that we will be able to surprise Africa‚” said Mannetti.
“We can’t wait for the tournament to start so that we can continue to live the dream. Our first goal is to win our first match at AFCON and then the sky is the limit.”
Namibia arrived in Cairo on Tuesday having‚ like Bafana‚ camped in Dubai in preparation for the finals.
“The camp in Dubai was perfect for us with the hot conditions and also helped us from a mental point of view to balance our preparations ahead of the finals‚” said the coach.
“We are the least expected team to win and that gives us the drive to do extra and we are prepared to do that.” Namibia has a number of South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) players in their squad‚ including BidVest Wits winger Deon Hotto‚ and the Highlands Park duo of Denzil Haoseb and Peter Shalulile.
The team will be appearing in their third continental finals‚ but have taken just two points from a possible 18 in six group games so far.
They were on the wrong end of Benni McCarthy’s four-goal spree in 1998‚ while they appeared again in Ghana in 2008 but also ended with a draw and two defeats.
They have a single win against South Africa before and also beat a locally-based Ivorian side at the African Nations Championship in 2018‚ but have never recorded a win against Morocco in six previous encounters.
The Brave Warriors will conclude their group campaign against Ivory Coast on 1 July.