Crowd was the driving force – Mannetti

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MORULENG, 05 July 2017 - Brave Warriors Captain Ronald Ketjijere (L) joins in the celebration following a goal by Roger Katjiteo against Swaziland in the semi final of the 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup Plate game. (Photo by: Maqonda Ndlovu) NAMPA

Staff Reporter

Windhoek-The unwavering support and patriotism displayed by thousands of Namibians who flocked the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Sunday is what propelled the Brave Warriors to a heroic 1-0 win over the Warriors of Zimbabwe during the first leg of their 2018 CHAN qualifiers.

“On Thursday I called on at least 10,000 Namibians to come out and support the boys in our game against Zimbabwe but I was totally caught off guard to see so many people at the stadium. It made it very emotional and we were determined not to disappoint them.

When we got the goal I paused and then celebrated – it was unbelievable how many people were at the stadium. It was just incredible and I had wanted, and prayed, for that moment to last until the end. Thank you Namibia,” said coach Ricardo Mannetti. Brave Warriors captain Ronald ‘Stigga’ Ketjijere shared the same sentiments on the atmosphere at the stadium on Sunday.

“When we came out to warm up we kind of had our heads down looking at the stands but when we came out for the line-up we could see the numbers had picked up, and I had a feeling they would increase as time went on. It is our responsibility as players to keep the people in love with the team and that’s why we always get onto the pitch and give our best,” he said.

“On Sunday it was exceptional. For us as a team that kind of support was a clear sign of maturity from the supporters; they understand where we are and what we want to achieve. We now prepare for the second leg with so much pride and drive to do even better,” Ketjijere confidently added.

Namibia and Zimbabwe will meet again on Sunday, July 23, at the Harare Sports Stadium for their second round second leg match, with the eventual winner progressing to the third and final round where either Lesotho or Comoros await on the road to Kenya 2018.

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