By Carlos Kambaekwa
Namibia faces a mammoth task of overcoming Malawi in their final Group B match in the new look Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) Senior Challenge Cup at the Lilian Ngoyi Stadium in Secunda, this afternoon (kick-off 14h00).
The Brave Warriors need to beat the Flames by hook or by crook if they are to extend their stay in South Africa and in the process book a date with the hosts in the quarterfinals of the regional tournament.
Namibia got off its campaign to a good start with a comprehensive win over the unfashionable Comores outfit, but stuttered against a stubborn Lesotho side in their second match – a result that saw the Namibians relinquish their top position in Group-B to the Malawians who collected maximum points from their opening matches.
Victory for the wounded Warriors will see them through – courtesy of their superior goal difference while the Malawians only need a draw to sail through and qualify for the quarterfinals.
The Namibians are faced with an assortment of injuries to key players with hard running midfielder Brian Brendell a definite non-starter for today’s do or die clash, while the trio of Paulus “Wire” Shipanga, Ivan Namaseb and Costa Khaiseb faces a late fitness test this morning.
New Era Sport spoke to the Team Manager of the Brave Warriors Tim Isaacs from Secunda last night, and the talkative mentor was defiant about the setback and says the technical staff will field the strongest possible lineup against Malawi and believes the match is winnable.
“We just have to pick up the pieces and knuckle down to some serious business because sometimes the players always raise their game when the odds are staked against them, because the players realize how important this match is – we have to win at all costs.”
Whilst he commended the commitment shown by the players so far, Isaacs expressed concern over the players’ lack of concentration during the 90 minutes of play.
“In the game against Lesotho, the guys only played for the opening 45- inutes but then we found ourselves on the ropes for the entire second half, and one cannot really single out any player who excelled. We really need to jack up our act if we are to overcome Malawi.
“It’s becoming a habit amongst our players to lose matches they could have won easily and we should have killed off Lesotho in the first half, but the guys went into a slumber in the second half and even the substitutes failed to change the complexion of the game and that’s a worrisome scenario.”
Isaacs fingered Quinton “Magic” Jacobs and Lazarus Kaimbi as the main culprits during the 1-all stalemate against Lesotho on Tuesday, whilst debutant Edward “the Bull” Damaseb also failed to come to the show when the situation presented itself, according to Isaacs.
In today’s other action, Lesotho come up against the Comores in a match of very little significance since both teams are already out of contention for a place in the quarterfinals.