With less than 16 days left before the 2016 edition of the Cosafa Castle Cup kicks off, coach Ricardo Mannetti is faced with an evidently short supply of ammunition after it was announced that the Brave Warriors would be without three prominent team members for next month’s Cosafa Cup.
Speaking at yesterday’s press conference at Football House in the capital, where he announced his 26-man squad for Namibia’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group-K qualifier against Niger on June 4 and also gave an update on the 2016 Cosafa Cup team selection, Mannetti revealed that Brave Warriors will be playing without influential captain Stigga Ketjijere, Dudes Mwendihanga and Petrus Shitembi in this year’s Cosafa Cup.
Also hanging in the balance is the fate of utility striker Peter Shalulile, who might only join the national team for their Cosafa Cup quarterfinal match against Botswana on June 18.
Mwedihanga and Ketjijere, who both play for the University of Pretoria (AmaTuks) in the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL), will not be available for selection when Namibia defends the Cosafa Cup on home soil from 11-25 June, as their club will be busy with the PSL play-offs while the Cosafa Cup is underway back at home.
“As for Mwedihanga and Ketjijere, I really don’t think they (their club management) will allow them, because they’re playing against Mbombela (FC) in their play-offs on the same day we’re playing Botswana in our Cosafa Cup quarterfinal match,” said Mannetti.
Shitembi, another influential member of the Brave Warriors squad, who plays for Amazulu in the South African National First Division (NFD), will also not be available for this year’s Cosafa Cup after recently picking up a niggling injury that has ruled him out for up to six months.
Also playing in the NFD for Highlands Park FC is Shalulile, whose availability for the Cosafa Cup is yet to be decided, as his club will also be involved in the PSL play-offs over the same period, but Mannetti indicated that he may possibly join the national team ahead of the clash against Botswana – but only if Highlands Park FC management allows it.
First thing on Mannetti’s list is the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group-K qualifier against Niger on June 4 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek, a match that the coach says will be vital in crafting the ideal squad to defend the Cosafa Cup.
To ease the selection headache, Mannetti yesterday called up a 26-man squad, consisting mostly of local players and a few internationals for the Niger game. Amongst the international players called up is crowd favourite Wangu Gome, Benson Shilongo, Dacosta Angula, Max Mbaeva and Virgil Vries.
“They (Angula and Gome) have had some game-time lately and they’re back. I’m sure I will have enough time to work with them and push them to the level, where I will be pleased. We will also be without defender Chris Katjiukua against Niger, due to two yellow cards he received, so a player like Angula will come in handy”, Mannetti explained.
The Brave Warriors are also expected to play two friendly matches before the Cosafa Cup quarterfinal tie against Botswana, which can be good for preparing the team and building momentum.
The 26-men squad is as follows:
Edward Maova (Civics), David Peterson (Tigers), Max Mbaeva (Golden Arrows), Virgil Vries (Maritzburg United), Da Costa Angula (Free State Stars), Chris Katjiukua (Golden Arrows) Denzil Hoaseb (Black Africa), Tiberius Lombard (Tura Magic), Romario Ndjavera (Tigers), Ferdinand Karongee (Tigers), Edmund Kambanda (Unam), Riaan Hanamub (Orlando Pirates), Oswaldo Xamseb (Tura Magic), Deon Hotto (Golden Arrows), Dynamo Fredericks (Black Africa), Hendrick Somaeb (Free State Stars), Willy Stephanus (Black Africa), Absalom Iimbondi (Tigers), Immanuel Heita (Black Africa), Terdius Uiseb (Orlando Pirates), Roger Katjiteo (Black Africa), Larry Horaeb (Tura Magic), Ananias Gebhardt (Black Africa) and Patience Gaseb (Mighty Gunners), Wangu Gome (Bidvest Wits) and Benson Shilongo (Gaborone United).