Brave Warriors mentor Bucksy Mannetti is looking to some of the younger players in the current squad to take Namibia to the final qualification round in the African Zone for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
The former Civics and Santos holding midfielder says today’s crunch match against the visiting Guineans at the Sam Nujoma Stadium is the beginning of the integration process, where he is likely going to throw into the lions’ den one or two promising youngsters who have been knocking hard on the door for inclusion in the starting lineup.
“For us this is a competitive match that we want to win and build a comfortable lead going into the decisive second leg in Guinea in a few days’ time.
“We have a couple of young players who have the hunger and desire to succeed at international level and this attitude gives me so much confidence and encouragement as we look ahead to the final round of the qualifiers,” said a confident Mannetti.
He singled out Black Africa’s overlapping fullback Dynamo Fredericks and Ferdinand Karongee (Tigers) who he believes are growing to become the backbone of the Warriors in the not-too-distant future.
Despite having to be satisfied with a 3rd place finish in the four-nations mini tourney in Angola last weekend, the Southern African regional champions’ gaffer says Namibia has no reason to bow its head.
“Last weekend’s result is now water under the bridge; we must lift ourselves up and encourage the boys to step up a gear since a comprehensive victory will give us more confidence going into the penultimate second leg away from home.”
Doubts over the fitness of skillful striker Benson “Styles” Shilongo, who is on the radar of South African Professional Soccer League (PSL) outfit Jomo Cosmos, have been doused.
The free-scoring big-frame striker has reportedly made a quicker than expected recovery from a niggling injury and is ready for selection.
The former Tigers lethal goal poacher is expected to lead the Warriors firing line alongside the speedy Peter Shalulile with Freestate Stars striker Ballack Somaeb dropping to the substitutes’ bench.
Stadium later today at 16h00.