With one week to go before the 2023 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers take centre stage, Brave Warriors interim head coach Bobby Samaria yesterday announced a 35-man squad to get preparations underway.
Namibia is set to face Burundi on 4 June in Johannesburg, South Africa for their opening qualifiers encounter, before facing Kenya on 8 June.
The Brave Warriors are drawn in Group C alongside Cameroon, Burundi and Kenya, who are likely to not participate in the coming qualifiers due to their banishment by Fifa.
The training squad will later be trimmed down to 25 players. However, selection to the final group will mostly depend on the outcome of players’ Covid-19 results.
The squad announced yesterday comprise regulars such as Mamelodi Sundowns talisman Peter Shalulile, Orlando Pirates midfielder Deon Hotto, Blackburn Rovers defender Ryan Nyambe as well as Riaan Hanamub of Chippa United. Youngsters such as Kamaijanda Ndisiro and Mervin Kasetura also made the squad.
Making a comeback to the Brave Warriors fold is Petrus Shitembi, who has not played for the national team for over six months, while notable omissions from the squad include old-time campaigners such as veteran goalie Virgil Vries, midfielder Manfred Starke and Tiberius Lombard.
Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, Samaria said they started with preparations two weeks ago, and the aim heading into the Burundi clash is to ensure Namibia move an inch closer to qualification.
“We began with our preparations two weeks ago, mostly with local players and I am happy with what we have been doing, although a lot still needs to be done. We will have a friendly match against Lesotho on 26 May, ahead of the encounter against Burundi, just to give us some needed game time,” he said.
It was also announced that Blue Waters head coach Paulus Shipanga will be assisting Samaria, an appointment Shipanga wholeheartedly welcomed. Shipanga said he is excited and willing to give it his all to ensure the national team benefits.
“This being my first time getting involved with coaching in the national team, I am looking forward to the new challenge, and with the help of a top coach like Bobby, I believe we will do great things. I will share all the knowledge I have with this beloved national team of ours to ensure that we do well. This is a huge opportunity and I am willing to give it my all,” he said.
Goalkeepers: Kamaijanda Ndisiro, Loydt Kazapua, Edward Maova, Mervin Kasetura, Ratanda Mbazuvara.
Defenders: Ryan Nyambe, Kennedy Amutenya, Ivan Kamberipa, Riaan Hanamub Ananias Gebhardt, Vitapi Ngaruka, Larry Horaeb, Denzil Haoseb, Charles Hambira, Erasmus Ikeinge and Amazing Kandjii .
Midfielders: Dynamo Frederick, Immanuel Heita, Wangu Gome, Petrus Shitembi, Bethuel Muzeu, Ambrossius Amseb, Wendell Rudath, Llewelyn Stanley, Deon Hotto, Alfeus Handura, Absolom Iimbondi, Wesley Katjiteo, Willy Stephanus, Marcel Papama.
Strikers: Elmo Kambindu, Peter Shalulile, Benson Shilongo and Joslin Kamatuka.