Samaria explains Awillo’s absence

By Michael Uugwanga

BRAVE Warriors coach Bobby Samaria has explained why exciting player Willy ‘Awillo’ Stephanus is not in the team that will play against Bafana Bafana tonight in an international friendly match.

Stephanus (29) was expected to be in the squad against Bafana Bafana, however he is not included in the squad as he abandoned training hoping to travel to South Africa for trials at an unnamed club after Samaria called-up a 35-man training squad on September 22.

The former Lusaka Dynamos FC, AC Kaajani and Black Africa midfielder left the Brave Warriors training camp after he was included in the squad as he was hoping to leave for South Africa but that did not materialise, which prompted Samaria to axe him although the coach said that the player remains a key figure for the national team going forward.

“Awillo wanted to go for trials in South Africa that Friday (25 September) a few days after we started with our training. I did not need him that time because he was leaving for trials as it was pointless to include a player that you are not sure if he will be in the squad. 

“It is the player’s bread and butter to go for trials. It does not mean that when you drop a player he will no longer be part of the team,” said Samaria.

Meanwhile, Stephanus on the other hand after failing to leave for South Africa for trials said that he was hoping to rejoin the training camp so that he might be considered to play against Bafana Bafana.

“I told coach Bobby about my plans that were already in place before he even called up the training camp that is why he excused me from the team. The reason why I did not go to South Africa for trials is because of Covid-19 as the airport was still closed at the time and that there were no flights to South Africa.”

The Brave Warriors match away to South Africa will be played at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.

The Brave Warriors will be looking at avenging their 1-0 defeat to South Africa at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) group match in Egypt.

“We are going to play against a strong South African team that comprises of its top players from abroad and those playing in their domestic league.  In a friendly match is not only about results but about performances.  We are looking forward to the match,” said Samaria.