Going into tomorrow’s penultimate clash against the visiting Comoros Islands football side a goal down from the first leg – Bucksy Mannettie wounded soldiers will be required to pull out all stops to overcome the one-goal deficit when the two nations clash in the decisive second leg at Sam Nujoma Stadium.
Yours truly had the privilege of watching the live broadcast of that particular match on the internet and must confess, we were a damn unlucky not to come out with at least a draw from that encounter.
It’s my humble plea to all football-loving Namibians to flock to the Sam Nujoma Stadium and paint the stadium red. Let us all rally behind the boys and maximise our homeground advantage.
It’s our stadium, our cloakrooms, we must learn to intimidate visiting teams allowing the crowd to make a statement as the 12th man.
It’s an unfortunate situation that two crucial members of the squad in the shape of Tebs Lombaard and Riaan Hanamub will be notable absentees through suspension, but that’s football.
The technical stud must improvise and stick to the formula that propelled us past Zimbabwe in the opening round.
It’s a must-win for us as host nation, so we should try by all means to avoid another stalemate because penalties are a lottery – anything can happen during the dreaded penalty shootout.
From the look of tings, it appears Mannetti is finally finding a winning formula with his untried bunch of not fully fit footballers and while some might argue that the team has been together for a considerable period – it should be noted that match fitness is a different kettle of fish from training and engaging in friendly matches.
Truly speaking, Namibia has no business competing in this tourney, given the current quagmire in which our football is sunk, but we must swallow our pride and give the boys a pat on the back for weathering the storm against all odds stacked against them.
The team is starting to gel, but the technical stuff must also put trust in fringe players and not be blinded by loyalty towards certain players – some guys in Mannetti’s preferred starting lineup are certainly not up to the task and must jack up their game, or make way for other deserving players.
The fact that a coach picks a 23-member squad should afford him the luxury to rotate his squad whenever the situation demands.
Apart from Ballack Somaeb, who is probably the only proven goal-poacher, our strike force has looked lethargic at times and has been less than lethal in front of goal, with numerous goal-scoring chances going astray.
We must learn to punish teams and finish them off when we have them under siege –because as everyone knows, football matches are won by goals.
Nonetheless, I must applaud the technical team for transforming the Brave Warriors team into serious competitors, despite all the challenges presented by the inertia in our domestic football league.
Namibians are very quick out of the starting blocks to castigate coaches whenever the team loses, without looking at the broader picture. Let’s give the coach a chance to build and mould this young team into a competitive unit. After all, Rome was not built in one day.
I rest my case.