Windhoek-An experimental Brave Warriors side, strictly comprising locally based players, yesterday suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat against Swaziland in a friendly match in that country’s city of Manzini.
The match was part of Swaziland’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations.
National coach Ricardo Mannetti assembled a team of home-based players, with most still uncapped, to face Sihlangu Semnikati (The King’s Shield) yesterday in a thrilling encounter that saw most of the youngsters in the squad being given their first national team run by Mannetti.
In a telephonic post-match interview with New Era Sport, Mannetti said: “Swaziland had a more matured team when compared to us and that was the difference on the day. But without making any excuses, they are indeed deserved winners. More importantly for us, it was about giving new players a chance to compete at that level and gain exposure.”
Mannetti specifically hailed the heroic performance of goalkeeper Edward Maova and the influence of ever-shining skipper Ronald ‘Stigga’ Ketjijere and stocky midfielder Image Isaak. The coach also heaped praise on youngster Marcelo Papama, whom he said is destined for the big stage.
“Our defence was tested tonight (last night) as they had to mark two tall strikers and that somehow gave us a bit of problems at the back. But to round it up, the match definitely served its purpose and that was for us to continue throwing the net wider and bringing new blood into the national team.”