Namibia’s U/23 side Young Warriors head coach Collin Benjamin on Saturday blamed lack of adequate match fitness and the ‘harsh reality’ of Namibian football for the team’s embarrassing 0-6 defeat against Angola at the 11 de Novembro stadium in Luanda.
The Young Warriors, who on Wednesday last week lost the opening leg of their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier 1-2 to Angola, were on Saturday hoping to overturn that result with a win but matters went from bad to worse for the Namibian youngsters.
Angola were unstoppable and no match for the Young Warriors, who clearly struggled to keep with the pace and tenacity of the host, who dominated both halves to secure a 6-0 win over the visiting Namibians.
In a post-match interview, Benjamin said lack of match fitness and the protracted absence of football in the country played a role in their embarrassing 0-6 defeat to Angola, saying the defeat forced them to face the ‘harsh reality’ of Namibian football.
“The harsh reality of Namibian soccer hit us; Angola gave us a soccer lesson. The first two goals were too quick. We were not marking our men as we should, they had too much pace and we didn’t just recover from the first goal. But that’s the harsh reality about our soccer, match fitness is something one cannot buy. We also had a goalkeeper who is 18 years of age and the last time we had football in Namibia, he was 14 years old,” said a disappointed Benjamin.
He, however, said the heavy defeat and all setbacks are part of a bigger process that the players must trust and once they start learning from their mistakes as a team, they will eventually improve.
“It’s now for us to go back to the drawing board as a country and fix ourselves. We need to try to get the team in good shape and compete at international level more often. The process requires us to go through this defeat, we will analyse this and try to better our mistakes. Diamonds are made under tough circumstances. It’s painful, but it’s a process we have to trust,” he said.