Despite a somewhat sluggish start in the 2017 AFCON qualifying Group H campaign, Brave Warriors gaffer Ricardo Mannetti is determined to roll with the punches and has urged his misfiring soldiers to win their remaining group matches if they are to finish on a high.
Namibia resumes her journey in the continental qualifiers with two must win ties against Burundi towards the end of March.
Mannetti addressed a full house of sports scribes at the headquarters of the Warriors’ principal sponsors, Namibia Breweries, where he sta-ted that it was imperative and possible for the regional champions to finish their wobbling in fine style.
“I’ve always stated since the beginning of the qualifiers that it was always going to be an insurmountable task to challenge African po-werhouse Senegal for the top spot. We now have three crucial matches to prove our mettle and in the process redeem ourselves,” charged the former Lightbody Santos holding midfielder.
He added that Namibia must go all out and has the potential to beat Burundi away from home on the 26th of this month and in the return leg on home soil a few days later. Namibia also host Niger in May and Mannetti believes the match is also winnable.
“It is important for us to win these matches and fashion a more respectable finish in the group before we turn our attention to the defence of the Cosafa Cup on home soil.”
Senegal comfortably tops the group after two rounds of matches with six points followed by Burundi and Niger, in that order, with Namibia holding the wooden spoon following two defeats in their opening two games.
Mannetti has called up a provisional 27-member squad for a training camp whereupon the squad will be trimmed down to a manageable 18. Locally based players are requested to report for camp at Football House next Wednesday, while the foreign legion is expected to arrive in camp on Sunday.
According to Mannetti, regular campaigners such as Wangu Batista Gome, Virgil Vries and Lazarus Kaimbi need to improve their match fitness by playing regular club football before they can be considered for selection – hence their omission from the provisional squad.
Meanwhile, negotiations are underway to clinch a deal with the national carrier Air Namibia to avail a chartered airbus for the trip to Bujumbura.
The provisional 27-member squad reads as follows: Loydt Kazapua (African Stars), Slimkat Mbaeva (Golden Arrows), Edward Maova (Civics), David Peterson (Tigers), Charles Uirab (Orlando Pirates), Denzil Hoaseb (BA), Chris Katjiukua (Golden Arrows SA), Dudes Mwedihanga (Amatuks SA), Romario Ndjavera (Tigers), Dennis Ngueza-Tjetjinda (African Stars), Ferdinand Karongee (Tigers), Edmund Kambanda (Unam), Riaan Hanamub (Orlando Pirates), Oswaldo Xamseb (Tura Magic), Pikes Shalulile (Highlands Park SA), Dynamo Fredericks, Awilo Stephanus (both BA), Benyamin Nenkavu, Absalom Iimbondi (both Tigers), Heini Isaacks (Unam), Petrus Shitembi (Amazulu SA), Stigga Ketjijere (Amatuks), Deon Hotto (Golden Arrows, SA), Imms Heita (BA), Benson Shilongo (Gabs United), Hendrick Somaeb (Free State Stars SA) and Terdius Uiseb (Orlando Pirates).