Top footballers to miss Bafana clash

By Michael Uugwanga

BRAVE Warriors will be without some of its best players against Bafana Bafana in an international friendly match that will take place on October 8 in South Africa.

The players that will be missing from the Bafana Bafana clash due to various reasons are Deon Hotto who recently joined South African giants Orlando Pirates, Benson Shilongo of Egyptian club Ismaily SC, Petrus Shitembi of Malaysian Super League side Sabah, Ryan Nyambe of Blackburn in the English Football League Championship and Manfred Starke of German third tier outfits FSV Zwickau.

The friendly against Bafana Bafana could see locally-based players getting the opportunity to showcase their talents after coach Bobby Samaria announced the absence of top players due to injuries, distance and club commitments.

“I had a personal discussion with some players such as Deon (Hotto) who will not play in the match because he is injured. Shitembi will be playing a league match for his club on 10 October while the match against Bafana Bafana is on 8 October, so it will not make any point for him to play. Nyambe is too far, the same applies to Starke and Shilongo. This will be an opportunity for other players to compete for places in the team,” said Samaria.

This will be the Brave Warriors’ first match since suffering a 0-2 defeat to Guinea last November in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) group A qualifier match played in Conakry.

The national team players have been hard at work in training since last week at the Namibia Football Association (NFA) technical centre under the watchful eyes of Samaria and his assistant Robert ‘Baggio’ Nauseb.

The training camp comprises of only locally-based players as part of Namibia’s preparations to the rescheduled African Nations Championship (CHAN) that was supposed to have taken place in April in Cameroon before it was postponed to next year January.

Samaria said he was impressed to see players enjoying training sessions, considering that locally-based players did not have a domestic league for a year and four months due to the continuing bickering between the NFA and the Namibia Premier League (NPL).

“The players have improved tremendously and the mood in camp is superb. Remember that we last kicked the ball in November.  We could not even play friendly matches against regional teams due to Covid-19 health protocols. If Cosafa goes ahead we will only take 23 players,” said Samaria.

Besides the CHAN tournament, players are also preparing for the Council of Southern Africa Football Association (Cosafa) Cup that is expected to start in October, although Cosafa is yet to officially communicate to its members on when the regional competition will take place.