Rusty Warriors prepare in Ghana

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Carlos Kambaekwa

Windhoek-History could repeat itself after the action-starved Brave Warriors silently jetted out of the country en route to their trusted fortress in Accra, Ghana, where they will engage in a few international friendlies against invitational regional sides.

Bucksy Mannetti’s soldiers will be using the Ghanaian safari as preparation for their upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group K installment against Guinea Bissau, as well as to improve the team’s fitness level ahead of the annual COSAF Regional Cup in South Africa later this month.

A strong 24-member squad quietly left the country last Thursday, as they prepare to launch a serious assault on the round of qualifications for the biannual continental, with matches slated to start on Saturday.

The Warriors are based at the famous Lizzy Sports Complex in Accra and will proceed to Guinea Bissau on Wednesday ahead of their crucial encounter against hosts Guinea Bissau on Saturday.

Head coach Bucksy Mannetti expressed satisfaction with the team’s physical fitness levels, saying it has improved over the last couple of weeks, although the much-needed match fitness is still lacking – hence the decision to engage a number of warm-up games in Ghana before visiting Bissau.

“It has been a difficult period for all of us and going to Ghana will give us an appropriate chance to play some games, for team harmony and match fitness. Remember, the last time the boys played together was against Senegal last year…” Mannetti charged.

The 2015 COSAFA Cup winning mentor added that most of the players in his plans had arrived in time, apart from the Platinum Stars pair of Styles Shilongo and Dudes Mwedihanga. They were to join the rest of the squad in West Africa after Stars’ CAF Confederations Cup assignment yesterday, while Petrus Shitembi of Stellenbosch FC, currently involved in the promotional playoff to the Premier Soccer League (PSL), was slated to join the team yesterday.

It is believed inspirational skipper Stigga Ketjijere will join the squad next week upon completion of his Justice Training Centre studies.

“I’ve a squad of 24 players and will trim it down to 18 for the Bissau clash and then come back home, as some of the squad members must still compete in the Debmarine Namibia Cup. Afterwards, we head to South Africa for the COSAFA Castle Cup starting on the 25th of this month,” Mannetti concluded confidently.

The Warriors are pitted in Group K alongside Zambia, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique for the 2019 AFCON Qualifiers.

The 24-member squad includes: Virgil Vries, Slimkat Mbaeva, Dudes Mwedihanga, Tebs Lombard, Chris Katjiukua, Mashaba Karongee, Riaan Hanamub, Junior Gebhardt, Larry Horaeb, Edmund Kambanda, Stigga Ketjijere (capt) Seunkie Haoseb, Oswaldo Xamseb, Dynamo Fredericks, Wangu Batista-Gome, Benyamin Nenkavu, Deon Hotto-Kavaendjii, Petrus Shitembi, Abes Limbondi, Styles Shilongo, Ita Keimuine, Ballack Somaeb, Pikes Shalulile and Kumbee Katjiteo.

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