Brave Warriors gaffer Bobby Samaria is leaving nothing to chance ahead of Sunday’s crucial 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Guinea, as he has beefed up his squad with the crème de la crème of the senior national team.
Namibia will on Sunday host Guinea at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in the capital, where the Warriors will vie to secure qualification to the 2021 Afcon finals, which will take place in January next year in Cameroon. The match will kick off at 15h00 and will be broadcast live on NBC TV. No fans will be allowed into the stadium.
The 2021 Afcon was initially set to take place between January and February this year, but due to the widespread Covid-19 pandemic, CAF was forced to move the tournament to January 2022.
Following the disqualification of Chad from Group A of the ongoing 2021 Afcon qualifiers due to that country’s government interference, Namibia along with Mali were both awarded three points apiece, which saw Namibia move to six points in third place and Mali, who have already qualified, remaining top with 13 points. Guinea, who are also seeking qualification, are in second place with eight points.
Before traveling to Namibia for Sunday’s match, Guinea will tonight first face Mali and a possible win will see them qualify straight to the finals along with Mali, and that will mean the end of the road for Namibia. But if Guinea draw or lose tonight, it will be a great boost for Namibia heading into Sunday’s clash.
A draw for Guinea in tonight’s match will be a huge boost for Namibia, who will then need to beat Guinea by 3-0 in order to advance on a head-to-head basis, and if Guinea loses tonight, any win for Namibia will be enough to send them through to the finals.
Given the significance of Sunday’s match against the ‘National Elephants’ of Guinea, coach Samaria has called up a strong group of more than 30 players, comprised of regular campaigners such as Deon Hotto, Peter Shalulile, Wangu Gome, Willy Stephanus, Ananias Gebhardt, Denzil Haoseb and Riaan Hanamub; to mention but a few.
The only missing component from the squad is striker Elmo Kambindu, who will miss Sunday’s match through suspension. Kambindu was on target the last time when Namibia lost 2-1 against Mali at home.
“All the professionals have joined the team and we are getting down to business. Of course, depending on what happens on Wednesday night [tonight] between Mali and Guinea, Sunday’s game will have its own dynamics. We have to finish off well and we have the chance to do it at home. It’s sad and regrettable that we have to withdraw Kambindu from the team. He was supposed to miss the Chad game away but now that the game has been cancelled, he is suspended for the Guinea match on Sunday. It’s bad for us, as he has become a pillar for the team. But we now have to focus on other players,” Samaria told the Namibia Football Association (NFA) media desk.
The coach also said German-based defensive midfielder Manfred Starke is set to arrive this morning to join the rest of the group. England-based defender Ryan Nyambe withdrew from the squad last week due to Covid-19 regulations in the UK.
Brave Warriors squad for Guinea: Goalkeepers: Loydt Kazapua, Virgil Vries, Edward Maova, Ratanda Mbazuvara, Ndisiro Kamaijanda. Defenders: Tiberius Lombard, Ananias Gebhardt, Immanuel Heita, Riaan Hanamub, Ivan Kamberipa, Emilio Martin, Amazing Kandjii, Vitapi Ngaruka, Aprocius Petrus, Denzil Haoseb, Charles Hambira. Midfielders: Deon Hotto, Wangu Gome, Dynamo Fredericks, Aubrey Amseb, Wendell Rudath, Absalom Iimbondi, Marcel Papama, Prins Tjiueza, Willy Stephanus, Alfeus Handura, Wesley Katjiteo, Manfred Starke, Steven Damaseb. Forwards: Peter Shalulile, Derl Goagoseb, Issaskar Gurirab, Joslin Kamatuka, and Salomon Omseb.