• November 14th, 2018
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Baby Warriors have knives out for Botswana…remain hopeful of reaching COSAFA Cup semis

Sport, Sports
Sport, Sports

Otniel Hembapu WINDHOEK – Namibia’s U/17 football side, Baby Warriors, have their war chest unleashed and ready for a ferocious battle against regional rivals Botswana in today’s Group-A do-or-die clash, as a possible victory for Namibia will see them secure a place in the semifinals of the 2018 COSAFA U/17 Cup underway in Mauritius. The Baby Warriors, who recorded an emphatic 8-3 victory over a hapless Seychelles in the opening match before narrowly losing 1-0 to host nation Mauritius in their second match of the tournament, desperately need a win in today’s match as Botswana, who are currently topping Group-A with six points, will need just a draw against Namibia to book their place in the semifinals. But since the competition’s final standings are decided on the head-to-head basis, a possible win for Namibia today would see them leapfrog Botswana into first place and subsequently see the Namibians reach the semifinals. However, even if Namibia beat Botswana in today’s clash, Botswana could still qualify as the best second-placed team in the group given the maximum points collected in their two opening wins. But if Mauritius, who will also be in action today as they face archipelago islanders Seychelles in the other group fixture, manage to secure a victory, that result, coupled with a possible Namibian win, would see all three sides finish on six points. If that turns out to be the case, then a mini-league will be created involving only matches played between those three sides to decide the winner. Seychelles have already been ousted from the competition but will be playing for pride when they confront Mauritius. Namibian mentor Shakes Malembu remains optimistic about his chances of reaching the semifinals, saying his charges are ready and well oiled to deal with the task at hand. “It’s not all over yet, we still have a chance and the boys are focused and in good spirit at the moment. We just needed to lift them up a bit following Saturday’s defeat to Mauritius, and that is exactly what we did. We prepared them well, now we have to see what will happen today against Botswana. There is no pressure, they are youngsters and they need our motivation,” said a confident Malembu. He added: “We encouraged them to give it their all and see what happens. They did well in the opening game – we can try to emulate that display and again play to our strengths.” Namibia currently sit third on the group log table with three points, tailing Mauritius who are stationed second also with three points, while Seychelles are bottom with no point. The 2018 COSAFA U/17 Cup serve as a qualifier for next year’s African U/17 Championships to be held in Tanzania, with the Tanzania finals in turn also serving as Africa’s qualifiers to the 2019 FIFA U/17 World Cup in Peru. – Additional info: nfa.org.com
New Era Reporter
2018-07-24 10:01:00 3 months ago

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