Brave Warriors’ enterprising winger Deon Hotto believes the experience and maturity of the current crop of players in the senior national team will be enough to carry them through when they confront the Red Devils of Congo-Brazzaville today at the Orlando Stadium in South Africa.
Namibia’s Brave Warriors, who have never appeared at the World Cup and also missed out on qualification to the next Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) set for Cameroon early next year, will square off against Congo in their 2022 World Cup qualifier, and Hotto is adamant that they will tame the visiting Central Africans.
“We are very focused on this match. We need to do this for us and for the fans back home because the World Cup is the ultimate prize in football. Most of these players played at the last Afcon in 2019, and the dream now is the World Cup. It is possible, and it starts now,” said a confident Hotto, who plies his trade for Orlando Pirates in South Africa.
The Brave Warriors were last in action at the Cosafa Cup in South Africa, where they registered wins over Senegal and Zimbabwe, but narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals. They are, however, determined to bounce back, and for Hotto and his teammates, the hour is nigh.
Namibia were stripped of hosting rights for this tie, with their usual venues in Windhoek, the Independence Stadium and Sam Nujoma Stadium, not deemed up to scratch by CAF inspectors.
But Hotto is not bothered by playing a home game away from home, saying; “It’s our home away from home, but for me, it will be my home at home, and that is very special. I’m used to the pitch, and some players in the team have played here before. I think on match day, that should count for something.”
Congo, who like their opponents have never played at the World Cup and also missed out on Afcon qualification, were last in action in June, claiming a 1-0 win over Niger.
In head-to-head stats, Namibia and Congo have met in four previous matches across all competitions and friendlies, dating back to their first clash in 1998. The Red Devils have claimed three wins compared to one for the Brave Warriors.
The teams’ most recent meeting was in an Afcon qualifier in May 2014, with Congo recording an emphatic 3-0 home win at Stade Alphonse Massemba-Débat, Brazzaville.
After today’s encounter, Namibia will charter a plane to Lomé, where they will face Togo on Sunday for their next qualifying clash, while Congo will welcome Senegal to Brazzaville on Tuesday, 7 September.
The Brave Warriors squad:
Goalkeepers: Kamaijanda Ndisiro, Loydt Kazapua and Virgil Vries.
Defenders:Riaan Hanamub, Ivan Kamberipa, Ananias Gebhardt, Larry Horaeb, Teberius Lombardt, Approcius Petrus, Denzil Haoseb, Charles Hambira.
Midfielders: Dynamo Fredericks, Alfeus Handura, Wangu Gome, Hotto, Absalom Iimbondi, Wesley Katjiteo, Marcel Papama, Prins Tjiueza and Willy Stephanus.
Forwards: Elmo Kambindu, Issaskar Gurirab, Peter Shalulile, Joslin Kamatuka, Benson Shilongo.