Carlos Kambaekwa Windhoek-Gone are the days of being continental whipping boys, and gone are the days when the Namibian football team would just turn up at august events to complete the numbers. Namibia’s senior football team, the Brave Warriors, as the team is affectionately known amongst its ardent followers, will face their sternest test of character when they make their maiden appearance at the CHAN in Morocco this weekend. Namibia opens her assault in Africa’s second tier football tournament against continental powerhouse Ivory Coast in Marrakesh, on Sunday. Despite the long absence of league football on the domestic front, coach Ricardo ‘Bucksy’ Mannetti has managed against all odds to transform the team into serious contenders for silverware. The former Lightbody and Civics hardworking midfield general has finally found a settled line-up with locally based players who are willing to put their bodies on the line and die for their beloved motherland. Namibia is pitted in the group of death alongside Zambia, Uganda and West African giants Ivory Coast in group B and are understandably rated the underdogs. However, many football pundits believe playing without pressure could be a welcome boost for the boys to go about their business unhindered. Though activities in the domestic league are well behind schedule – a significant number of youngsters have come to the fore with breathtaking performances in the domestic league for their respective clubs. Those who have raised their hands are Riaan Hanamub, Dynamo Fredericks, Tebs Lombard, Oswaldo Xamseb and a few other youngsters. In the goalkeeping department, Mannetti is spoilt for choice when it comes to team selection with all three net minders Loydt Kazapua, Charles Uirab and Ted Maova in good form. The team has been on a month-long training camp in Tunis, Tunisia to acclimatize to the freezing weather conditions that are similar to those of the host nation Morocco. New Era Sport contacted Mannetti just before the team jetted off to Morocco yesterday to get some insight into the team’s preparations. “Our preparations went quite well because the two games we played gifted us a good idea with regard to our approach that we will follow during matches. The boys are quite confident and in high spirits and I’m hundred percent sure they are capable of carrying that confidence into the field when the games get started.” Mannetti added that his team knows exactly what to expect from their much-fancied opponents after his technical team thoroughly studied the opposition’s weak links. “We are fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses and as much as we do not underestimate our opponents – a lot of things have changed in international football and this team is capable of achieving great things,” stated a confident Mannetti. The tourney gets underway tomorrow afternoon with the Atlas of the North opening their account with a date against unfashionable Mauritania.
New Era Reporter
2018-01-12 10:57:23 10 months ago