By Carlos Kambaekwa
It never rains but only pours for the Namibian football team the “Brave Warriors” as the outfit prepares for its penultimate first leg match against Zimbabwe in the maiden edition of the African Nations Championships in Harare on Sunday.
The new-look Warriors team which consists of locally based players has been hit by injuries and will travel to Zimbabwe without the services of the country’s leading striker Pineas “Heel Extension” Jacobs and his Ramblers’ team mate Luther “Bigman” Kanalelo.
Kanalelo sprained his ankle while playing for his club Oshikandela Ramblers in the quarterfinals of the MTC NFA Cup against Tigers at Mariental last weekend, while Jacobs yesterday twisted his ankle during the morning training session.
Coach Arie Schans is not very concerned about the setback and says his charges have what it takes to upset the odds.
“We are very fortunate that the domestic league is in full swing and the physical condition of the players is perfect, so I’m not really worried about the fitness level of the players,” he said.
“Unlike the team that played against Malawi where I was not personally involved with the selection of the squad, this time I’ve been hands on after watching the players during the last 16 and the quarterfinals of the MTC NFA Cup over the last couple of weeks.”
The Dutch national expressed dismay over the manner in which the team played against Malawi in an international friendly last month but was quick to point out that the result against the Flames is now water under the bridge.
“The match was kind of a dummy run and we certainly learned a lot of things from that game and we should be able to play with more commitment in our next match against Zimbabwe.”
Schans is very much aware of the strength of his opponents and says the mere fact that Dynamos of Harare recorded a resounding victory over continental club champions Etoile du Sahel in an African Club Championship qualifier in Harare last weekend, is an indication that the Zimbabweans will be no pushovers.