It might be just a friendly tourney contested by four nations, but the regional COSAFA champions will have a lot at stake when they enter the tournament on foreign soil.
Still basking in glory, following their historic triumph in the COSAFA Senior Challenge, the Brave Warriors are in buoyant mood after wrapping up their first training session at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek yesterday. They leave for Angola tomorrow to participate in the Angola At 40 Years Independence International football bonanza, this weekend.
Warriors mentor Bucksy Mannetti and his deputy Ronnie Kanalelo took the players through their paces in searing heat yesterday.
Mannetti explained the reason that locally based players only started training yesterday, instead of Monday, as initially planned, saying: “Most of the guys played two league matches over the weekend. That’s why we resolved to give them off on Monday, so they could recover from fatigue. It’s now down to serious business. In fact, we only need 20 players for Angola, but decided to call up 26, which is good because it gives us more options,” Mannetti said.
Apart from hosts Angola, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia, complete the four-nation line up, with the two-day tourney slated for the 11 de November stadium, starting on Friday.
The Warriors will be back in action a few days later when they welcome Guinea Conakry next Thursday in the first leg of the 2018 FIFA Africa Zone World Cup Qualifiers, with the return leg to be played in neutral Morocco three days later. Guinea plays their home matches in Morocco, as a result of the deadly Ebola epidemic in Guinea.
African Stars agile shot stopper Lloyd Kazapua is likely to be stationed between the sticks, while previously discarded centre-back, Emilio Martin, has been recalled to the Brave Warriors’ lineup.
The 26 footballers in the traveling entourage are: Lloyd Kazapua, Joslin Kamatuka, Dennis ‘Law’ Ngueza-Tjetjinda (African Stars), Ferdinand Karongee, Absalom Iimbondi, Benjamin Nenkavu, Mapenzi Muwanei, David Peterson, Image Isaak (Tigers), Dynamo Fredericks, Emilio Martin, Junior Gebhardt, Denzil Haoseb, Immanuel Heita, Muna Katupose (Black Africa), Miguel Manaza (United Stars), Johannes Nambuli, Gabriel Malakia (Blue Waters), Edmund Kambanda, Heini Isaacks (UNAM), Jonas Sakaria (Eleven Arrows), Manfred Kazondume (Tura Magic), Alfons Xoagub (Julinho Sporting), Edmund Amugongo (Young Chiefs), Uaundjorure Nakambare (Mighty Gunners) and Terdius Uiseb (Orlando Pirates).