The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) announced late yesterday in a statement online that the international friendly match between Namibia and Zambia scheduled for Sunday, June 12 at the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia will not take place as earlier announced.
“Please be advised that the international friendly match between Zambia and Namibia, which was scheduled to be played at Nkoloma Stadium will not take place on Sunday, June 12 as earlier announced. The match has been cancelled at the request of the Government of the Republic of Namibia due to the 2016 Castle Cosafa Cup competition to be hosted by Namibia from June 11. Any inconvenience caused is regretted,” FAZ’s Facebook post read.
Back to the Cosafa Cup, reigning Cosafa Cup champions, the Brave Warriors are exempted from the qualifying rounds of the regional tourney and will only open their assault with a quarterfinal tie against the fast-improving Zebras of Botswana on the 18th of this month.
A narrow 1-nil victory over the muscular visiting Niger outfit in a match of convenience – the 2017 AFCON Qualifier in Windhoek last weekend- followed by a morale boosting goalless midweek draw against regional powerhouse Malawi has given the Warriors renewed hopes for the successful defense of their title.
The curtain for the 2016 edition of the annual COSAFA Cup opens tomorrow when former champions Zimbabwe go head to head against Swaziland at Sam Nujoma stadium at 15h00, to be followed by the clash of the islands when Seychelles meet Madagascar at 17h30.
Although South African coach Shakes Mashaba has selected a relatively young side, comprised of a majority of members from the Olympic squad – perennial underachievers Bafana Bafana are amongst the favourites to clinch the regional trophy, alongside Zambia, Angola and the star-studded Zimbabwean team.
However, rank outsiders Mozambique, Botswana and the DRC could pose a serious threat to their opponents if unchecked. The Namibian side will depend largely on home support and only a fool would bet against Bucksy Mannetti’s unpredictable charges pulling another surprise out of the hat by defending the cup successfully.
The Warriors will be without the valuable services of inspirational skipper Stigga Ketjijere and reliable defender Dudes Mwedihanga. The pair is engaged in relegation/promotional play-offs with their team University of Pretoria (AmaTuks).
The presence of midfield workaholic Wangu Batista Gome has injected a new lease of life in the previously toothless Warriors engine room, that looked seriously vulnerable during his absence.
Apart from hosts Namibia, the 14-nation football tournament includes southern African powerhouses led by South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, DR Congo, Swaziland and Madagascar.
Tickets are on sale for a reduced prize of N$20 per game that includes a discount of N$10 per match for the next day’s match. Tickets can be purchased from Freedom Land mobile police station, Greenwell police station, NFA Football House and at all TN Mobile outlets. A delectable opening ceremony has been line up, with Adora as the main live performing act.