Samaria welcomes ‘tough’ 2020 Chan draw…former skipper Ketjijere optimistic
Brave Warriors interim coach Bobby Samaria has welcome the 2020 African Nations Championship (Chan) draw with mixed feelings, saying Namibia will be in for a tough ride but maintains it will equally be a good opportunity for charges to go one better.
The draw for the 2020 Chan tournament was conducted on Monday in Yaounde, Cameroon, who will host the sixth edition of the continent’s second-biggest football showpiece from 4-24 April.
The Brave Warriors of Namibia will renew their rivalry with neighbours Zambia after they were drawn in Group D, joined by Tanzania and Uganda.
Welcoming the draw, coach Samaria yesterday admitted the group will provide tricky competition as it is “relatively one of the tough groups” but was quick to maintain it is a challenge they will have to embrace.
“What a draw! Not a doubt that it is a tough group that we are faced with; it’s going to be a challenge. We know Guinea beat Senegal to qualify and that shows how strong they are as a country. Tanzania, on the other hand, is also a very good team as they beat Sudan to qualify, so you can already see all these teams are good and ready to compete. The absence of our local league has not also helped us in any way as a national team, so that means the work won’t be easy because your form as a team also determines where you are headed,” said Samaria.
He, however, says the players are optimistic and raring to go. “The players are optimistic and are raring to go; we just have to play our part and ensure we take it one game at a time.”
Former Brave Warriors inspirational captain Ronald ‘Stigga’ Ketjijere also embraced the challenge that lies ahead for the national team and threw his weight behind boys, urging them to go out and defy all odds.
“I think it’s a tough group indeed, especially given the fact that Guinea and Tanzania are all good football nations in their own respect. Another thing that makes it difficult for Namibia is the fact that we currently have no active premier league and that will have some sort of impact on the overall performance of the team in Cameroon. All our opponents in Group D have active leagues in their countries, meaning their players have been active and in top form, and that plays out to our disadvantage,” said the retired highly decorated midfield maestro, who captained Namibia to the quarterfinals of the 2018 Chan finals during the country’s maiden appearance.
The former South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) club University of Pretoria (AmaTuks) talisman added that all is not lost; they too in 2018 gave their opponents a good run for their money at Chan without an active league back home.
“It’s going to be a tough ride but we can still do it without an active league. Just look at how we did the last time we participated in Chan. We also had no active league in the country but we still went out and managed to move out of the group stage. So, I think if the current players apply the same mentality, we can still surprise many.”
The other groups will see host nation Cameroon opening their 2020 Chan assault against Zimbabwe in Group A, where they are joined by Mali and Burkina Faso. Defending champions Morocco will face Uganda, Rwanda and debutants Togo in Group C, while in Group B, the tournament’s most successful team DR Congo will face 2014 champions Libya, Niger and Congo.
The Chan tournament is organised by Caf and it exclusively features players playing in their respective domestic leagues. Unlike the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), the competing national teams must be composed of players plying their trade domestically.
For example, a Namibian player is only eligible to play for Namibia at Chan if he is playing for a Namibian club. The creation of Chan was a response to the desire to revive or strengthen national competitions, which are regularly weakened by a mass exodus of top players who leave their home countries to play for foreign teams, which will pay more and get them more media coverage. -firstname.lastname@example.org
2020-02-19 09:19:21 | 4 months ago