WINDHOEK – Brave Warriors mentor Ricardo Mannetti says preparations towards the upcoming friendly match against Botswana on 30 September in Gaborone are not only focused on bagging a victory against their regional rivals, but more importantly, the match will be used to accord home-based players much-needed game time and exposure.
Announcing his 28-men preliminary squad at Football House yesterday, Mannetti said Namibia is still faced with four character-testing qualifying matches and thus the Botswana friendly will serve as a perfect spring board for his charges to gain needed match fitness and exposure ahead of next month’s vital African Cup of Nation (AFCON) qualifiers.
Namibia still has to face Mozambique home and away between 10 and 13 October, before moving on to face Guinea Bissau on 16 November. They will conclude with a return fixture against Zambia in March next year. Those four fixtures will decide Namibia’s fate as far as the 2019 AFCON is concerned.
Placing special emphasis on the Botswana friendly, the 2015 Cosafa Cup winning coach said the 28-member preliminary squad also includes a few players from the U/23 structures and the aim is to also afford the youngsters an opportunity to learn and share notes with their senior counterparts. The squad will in coming days be trimmed down to 20 players for the Botswana trip.
“I have also included some U/23 players in my squad because I see this as an opportunity to expose them to national team training as they can learn from the senior guys. They (U23’s) are preparing for Olympic qualifiers in November, so this will be great for them. Some of the U/23 players might come in from the bench if need be, but for now the aim is to give the senior players proper game time and have a closer look at their match fitness, specially approaching the Mozambique games,” explained Mannetti.
After the Botswana clash, Mannetti revealed that plans are at an advanced stage to setup camp in South Africa around the 7th of next month where the national will be wrapping up preparations for their upcoming qualifiers, as it’s logistically easier for the NFA since most of the country’s foreign-based players ply their trade in that country.
The 28-men preliminary squad: Ratanda Mbazuvara, Uzuva Tjimune, Abel Amenenge, Larry Horaeb, Vitapi Ngaruka, Emilio Martin, Donovan Kanjaa, Kennedy Eib, Charles Hambira, Lubeni Haukongo, Aprocious Petrus, Baloyi Tsandib, Brandon Neibeb, Pandeni Kandjabanga, Benyamen Nenkavu, Ronald Ketjijere, Marcel Papama, Anthony Kham, Romeo Kasume, Hiha Katjivena, Petrus Shitembi, Absalom Iimbondi, Lucky Heita, Muna Katupose, Sadney Urikhob, Jandja Maharero, Brendon Katoungondo and Rivaldo Festus.