Rusty Warriors ready to ruffle feathers

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Carlos Kambaekwa

Windhoek-Fresh from their training camp in Accra, Ghana, the Namibian senior football team, the Brave Warriors, arrived in Bissau on Wednesday and immediately knuckled down to some serious business.

Bucksey Mannetti’s soldiers had their first training session in Bissau shortly after the team’s arrival, ahead of their crucial opening match in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group K qualifier against hosts Guinea Bissau at the Estadio 24 de Septembro, tomorrow.

With a only a day left before their first competitive match in almost over a year, the Warriors enjoyed a casual feel of conditions in Bissau, the capital of Guinea Bissau.

A much relaxed and confident Warriors mentor, Mannetti, expressed satisfaction with team’s preparation in Ghana including the availability of his full quota of squad members.

“I’m extremely happy to state that the South African-based trio of Petrus (Shitembi), Dudes (Mwedihanga) and Benson (Shilongo) joined the rest of the squad and trained with the team today.”

The players were involved with their respective club commitments last weekend. Diminutive playmaker Wangu Batista-Gomes also trained during session, after he was left out of the team during the two warm up matches in Ghana, as a precaution.

“Otherwise we are still waiting for captain Stigga Ketjijere, who is due to join by the end of the week,” the 2015 Cosafa Cup gold medallist coach added. Ketjijere is expected to arrive in Guinea on Friday this week – a day before kick off.

Despite oozing with confidence, Mannetti is wary of the potential danger posed by their hosts, saying he expects a tough match in front of a hostile crowd, but the former Santos holding midfielder remained focused on an achievable favourable result.

“We came here to do the job, but we are fully aware that they are playing at home, which makes it a tricky assignment with the home support behind them, but we have the experience to handle this kind of situations.

To be quite honest, we are aiming for a good result, because we don’t want to lose our first match, and getting off to good start could define our path towards qualification for the 2019 Afcon”, he added.

Mannetti will announce his 18 man match-day squad later today after assessing the yet to arrive team skipper Stigga Ketjijere.

The Warriors are pitted in Group K alongside fellow Southern African countries, Zambia and Mozambique with Guinea Bissau completing the four-nation line up.

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