The Brave Warriors’ preparations for their upcoming 2017 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Burundi yesterday suffered a blow, after goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua was forced to withdraw from the team with an ankle injury that will possibly keep him out for two weeks.
The African Stars injury-prone goal-minder Kazapua was among the five goalkeepers called up by coach Ricardo Mannetti last week to form part of the training squad in preparation for Namibia’s must-win 2017 Group K qualifiers against Burundi, slated for March 26 and 29.
But it was however announced yesterday that the man who was favourite to take the number two spot behind Golden Arrows and Brave Warriors number one acrobatic goalie, Max Mbaeva, was injured and out.
“I was looking forward to take my place in the Warriors team but on Tuesday afternoon during our daily training session with my club I twisted my ankle, and was told I will be out for two weeks. It’s a big blow for me, but I have to take it easy and recover to be a better competitor once again,” Kazapua said.
With Mbaeva surely the number one goalkeeper as confirmed by coach Mannetti last week, three goalkeepers now have to battle it out for the second choice spot ahead of the trip to Bujumbura for the March 26 clash and for the March 29 encounter at the Sam Nujoma stadium.
Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Charles Uirab, Tigers’ Dawid Petersen and Civics’ Edward Maova are the three goalkeepers competing for the number two spot behind Mbaeva.
Uirab had a turbulent start to the premier league’s first round and was subsequently replaced by a South African goalkeeper Leshego Modiba, only to take over the reins in goal this year after Modiba left the club unceremoniously.
Counting in his favour though will be his experience from the 2016 CHAN qualifiers against Zambia last year.
Petersen has always been an understudy to Maova at youth football level and in his first season in the NPL surprised all and sundry with some fine performances, while inexperience had cost him at times.
Maova has been solid between the poles for the youth teams over the years and has been number one at Civics for some time now, but his form took a dip at the start of the season, a period during which Civics struggled for points.
Maova’s return to form in 2016 has indeed turned Civics’ season around and out of the relegation zone for now.
The locally based players called up last week started training yesterday morning and the foreign-based players will join the camp by Sunday or Monday before the final traveling squad is announced, with much focus placed on Mbaeva’ s understudies.