A dwindled performance and mounting fatigue over the course of two days saw Namibia’s Brave Warriors get dumped out of the ongoing 2021 Cosafa Cup, following yesterday’s 1-0 defeat against the Mambas of Mozambique in their final Group B match.
Namibia, who until yesterday were topping the group, on Tuesday threw away a golden opportunity to book an early seat in the semifinals of the regional competition when they played to a 1-all draw against Malawi. That uninspiring stalemate against the
Flames of Malawi left them with one last dice to toss – which was to beat Mozambique in order to progress to the next round.
But it was not to be, as the Warriors again, just like in the match against Malawi, delivered another wobbly performance characterised by disjointed passes and poor final touches in front of goal, which saw them going down against the spirited Mozambican spitting Mambas.
After a goalless and lifeless first half, Mozambique, which were the superior side, benefited handsomely from a brief lapse of concentration by the Namibian defenders, which saw substitute striker Melque Melito Alexandre sneaking in to tap home in the 81st minute to hand the Mambas the lead. Warriors coach Bobby Samaria made a raft of desperate substitutions and tactical changes on the pitch but nothing seemed to be gelling for the Namibians, as the equalising goal never came. The Warriors kept pushing but Alexandre’s goal proved enough to see the Mozambicans through to the semifinals of the Cosafa Cup.
Namibia finished second in Group B with seven points behind group winners and tournament guest participants Senegal, who progressed with nine points. Mozambique finished third equal on seven points with Namibia. But Mozambique, however, qualified for the semifinals due to their better head-to-head record against Namibia.
In a post-match interview, Warriors assistant coach Robert Nauseb said the team played two tough games in two successive days (Malawi on Tuesday and Mozambique yesterday), and the players could not cope with the pressure.
“That is not an excuse, but the boys gave everything in this match. We still have the World Cup qualifiers to look forward to later in the year. We will go back to the drawing board and assess the team, and see
where we need to improve,” said a disappointed Nauseb. - email@example.com