Windhoek-Brave Warriors mentor Ricardo “Bucksy” Mannetti has trimmed his 27-member squad to a manageable 23-man team ahead of Namibia’s maiden participation in the 2018 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) finals to be hosted by Morocco from the 12th of this month to the 4th of next
The Namibian amateurs are pitted alongside West African giants Ivory Coast, Zambia and Uganda in Group B.
The former Civics and Lightbody’s Santos midfield general, who travelled with 27 players for an extensive training camp in Tunis, Tunisia, says he has named his final 23-man squad. He has, however, resolved to keep two extra players in camp ahead of the team’s friendly match against Rwanda on Saturday.
“The boys have really given their all but sadly, we have to deal with the unfortunate withdrawals of goalkeeper Calvin Spiegel (ankle) and Immanuel Heita (knee) – hence the decision to add two more players in the shape of Tjiuana Tja-Tjinotjiua and Gregory Auchumeb,” states Mannetti.
According to Mannetti, both Auchumeb and Tja-Tjinotjiua will remain with the team ahead of the friendly match against Rwanda for obvious reasons.
“Football is an unpredictable game and after the game on Saturday, maybe we will still need to make more changes that might come in handy should we experience any injuries. That is why we resolved to keep the pair until then.
A highly confident Mannetti believes the spirit in the camp is very positive and the boys are raring to go.
“We looked at experience over matches played last year and also considering versatility in terms of tactics and options going into the CHAN tourney.
Tigers left winger Benyamin Nenkavu shook off a niggling knee injury, as he fought his way back into the team for the final squad while Black Africa’s versatile libero Emilio Martin, also made the cut after a long absence. Okahirona’s youngster Kleophas Useb and the Young African pair of Vitapi Ngaruka and Himee Hengombe are also included.
Late replacement Ita Keimuine and Tura Magic club mate Junias Theophilus also managed to carve themselves spots in the final 23-man squad.
The Warriors leave their base in Marrakesh, Morocco, on the 11th of this month where they open their assault in the tournament with a date against Ivory Coast three days later before confronting Uganda ahead of their final group match against Zambia in Casablanca on the 22nd of this month with the top best placed nations advancing to the quarterfinals.
The Warriors final squad reads as follows: Ted Maova, Charles Uirab, Lodyt Kazapua, Mashaba Karongee, Tebs Lombard, Charles Hambira, Edmund Kambanda, Dynamo Fredericks, Ballack Somaeb, Petrus “Dancing Shoes” Shitembi, Benyamin Nenkavu, Stigga Ketjijere, Emilio Martin, Abes Iimbondi, Kumbee Katjiteo, Kleopas Useb, Vitapi Ngaruka, Kaka Nekundi, Junias Theophilus, Riaan Hanamub, Oswaldo Xamseb, Ita Keimuine and Himeezembi Hengombe.