Namibia’s junior football team, the Young Warriors, are hard at work preparing for their 2017 CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations second round first leg qualifier against South Africa on the 21st of this month in Windhoek.
The Namibian amateurs are having mixed fortunes in Ghana, having drawn and lost a couple of warm-up matches in the West African country.
The Gerhard Gunter-coached team returns home on Wednesday before they take on South Africa at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday, at 15h00. Namibia played out a goalless draw against Ghana’s under-17 side in their opening match on Ghanaian soil before losing 4-1 to Ghana’s under-20s with captain Pandeni Kandjabanga pulling back a consolation goal for the visitors.
Word from Football House is that the country’s football authorities want the youngsters to defeat South Africa en route to a tie with either Lesotho or Mozambique in the third and final qualifying round for a ticket to Zambia 2017 for the continental Youth Championships.
NFA have roped in the services of US-based Jandjamuje Maharero and Belgium-based Samuel Inono, as well as students Mirko Wolff (Stellenbosch) and Reginald ‘Kokorot’ Willemse (Ajax Cape Town) to complete the 21-member squad in Ghana.
“The potential is certainly there and having all your eligible players on board makes it even better because this team is capable of doing well. We expect a favourable result against South Africa in the first leg before we can talk of qualification to the next round,” said Jakes Amaning, NFA Youth Teams Coordinator.
Amaning also revealed that Windhoek-based defender Jürgen van der Byl deserted the team at the eleventh hour after he failed to join the team at the airport for the trip to Ghana.
“It is very sad when we have done all we could for these boys only for him to decide not to pitch or to explain his reasons for his no show. Nevertheless, we have other options and won’t allow that to derail our preparations. This is a national team and if you don’t want to play it’s your choice as well,” Amaning states. The South Africans arrive in Namibia for the penultimate clash on Thursday, May 19.