Southern Africa regional champions, Namibia’s Brave Warriors had to settle for a bronze medal at the four-nation international friendly tourney at the 11 de Novembro Stadium in Luanda in Angola over the weekend.
The two-day tourney marked 40 years of Angola’s independence and though the Namibians got their campaign off to a slow start – going down by a solitary goal against hosts Angola on the opening day – the under-strength Warriors dusted themselves off when they saw off Zambia.
The tie ended in a goalless stalemate but the Namibians kept their nerves during the dreaded penalty shootout to prevail 4-3 victors.
Bucksy Mannetti’s entire travelling entourage comprised of gutsy locally based footballers and after a see-saw affair in their opening match, the Namibians stepped up a gear in the final match against Zambia and came out tops against the Chipopolos, who also lost their opener against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (0-3) in the other semifinal
Hosts Angola won the tourney after beating DRC 1-0 in the final.
Warriors’ wily mentor Mannetti was unfazed by Namibia’s failure to reach the final of the mini tourney and expressed delight with the manner in which the players acquitted themselves under trying conditions. He added that the tourney was an ideal opportunity for the fringe players to raise their hands.
“The whole exercise was very good and from now on our players will become even better. It was the first time that some of the squad members played at that level and my ultimate aim was to see which players are ready and also to try out players in different positions than from what they are used to at club level.”
Mannetti singled out African Stars’ Joslin Kamatuka, Black Africa’s overlapping fullback Dynamo Fredericks and Jonas Sakaria (Eleven Arrows) as the players who impressed the most.
I’m extremely happy with the overall performance considering we lost to a better team in the shape of Angola, but we should have buried Zambia under an avalanche of goals in our second match. We created hopelessly too many clear goal-scoring chances and should have killed off the match.”
The Warriors used the match as preparation for their upcoming two-legged 2018 FIFA Africa Zone World Cup qualifier second round first leg against the visiting Guinea, slated for the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Thursday at 16h00.