Samaria, Shalulile satisfied with near-perfect win… as Warriors reach World Cup group stage
WINDHOEK- Brave Warriors captain Peter Shalulile and ingenious midfielder Absalom Iimbodi scored in each half to propel Namibia to a well-deserved 2-0 victory over continental football minnows Eritrea during the 2nd leg of their 2022 World Cup preliminary round qualifier at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s 2-0 victory saw Namibia waltz past Eritrea with an aggregate score of 4-1, having won the first leg 2-1 away in Asmara. Tuesday’s also meant the Brave Warriors advanced to the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers.
An upbeat Brave Warriors interim coach Bobby Samaria hailed his charges for sticking to the game plan and for diligently executing the task at hand with the required precision. The experienced veteran gaffer also expressed delight with the style of play the Warriors dished out on the day, saying they were going forward more often and demonstrated how badly they wanted the victory.
“Yes they wasted a couple of good goal-scoring chances but I think Eritrea were not a threat at all. It was very evident on the balance of play that we were far better than our opponent. We’re known for playing defensive football and we’ve changed that because I believe that not all birds should be caged because some birds have bright feathers and you need to let them fly, and today the guys showed that they believed they could fly,” said an exultant Samaria.
He continued: “I think I expected it [the win]. From the beginning we decided we needed to use Eritrea as a vehicle that will take us through to the group stages of the qualifiers and I’m glad that the boys utilised our opportunities and we made it through to the group stages as planned. You know when you play at home there is always a lot of anxiety but I told them [players] you need to remain calm because we were in the driving seat and there was nothing we needed to change and eventually the goals started to come.”
Meanwhile, Shalulile, who also scored in the 1st leg in Eritrea, also expressed his satisfaction with the win and how his teammates came to the party, saying going into the group stage of the qualifiers more hard work and dedication will be required.
“I am happy that we are through to the next round, which means we have to work hard now,” he said. The host almost went ahead in the first minute after the ball slid past Eritrean defender Hermon Yohannes and fell on the foot of the waiting Shalulile who then made a brilliant pass to Shilongo, but the well-positioned Shilongo failed to bury the ball into the open net.
The spirited but somewhat unlucky visitors also had a fair share of their own chances, and one such opportunity was when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Namibian box but Henock Goiton fired the ball over the crossbar.
Tuesday’s win now sees Namibia join other 13 lowly-ranked teams that also made it through to the group stage of the qualifiers and will join the 26 highly-ranked nations to bring the number of group stage participants to a total of 40.
For the group stages of the qualifiers, which will resume next year in March, the 40 teams will be divided into 10 groups of four teams. At the end of the rigorous qualifying procedure, only five teams will get tickets to represent the continent at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
New Era Reporter
2019-09-12 08:01:17 11 days ago