Cosafa Is History – Mannetti

Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti says the team’s recent Cosafa Cup triumph is already a distant memory as they prepare to face Niger in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Namibia begin their quest for a place at the 2016 continental showpiece with an away tie against Niger’s Menas in Niamey on 14 June. The Brave Warriors will also face the Teranga Lions of Senegal and the Swallows of Burundi in qualification Group K.

Mannetti, who opted for an unchanged side for the first Afcon qualifier, said it was imperative that his charges use the Cosafa Cup triumph as a springboard to further success and not be blunted by their historic achievement.

He feels that winning the Cosafa Cup title would have been a futile exercise if the Brave Warriors fail to improve.

“Cosafa is completely history. Everyone is celebrating but it’s important that they (players) don’t get caught up in the celebrations. Yes, we are enjoying the moment but it’s time we turned our focus to the Afcon qualifiers which will be tougher than Cosafa,” Mannetti told reporters at a press conference in Windhoek on Thursday.

Mannetti kept faith in the players who delivered the southern African championship, meaning there’s no place in the team for the likes of experienced Thailand-based forwards Lazarus Kaimbi and Tangeni Shipahu.

The training squad does however include nine other home-based players who are likely to form the core of the team which will face Zambia in the African Nations Championship (Chana) two-legged qualifying ties a week after the Afcon qualifier.

The Brave Warriors will camp at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, South Africa from Saturday until next Thursday when they leave for Niger.

“I decided to keep the same team that did us proud in Cosafa for the sake of continuity. I don’t want to tamper with the momentum,” the coach explained.

Earlier this week, President Hage Geingob said he wanted to see the team qualify for the 2016 Afcon and possibly the Fifa World Cup in the not too distant future.

However, Namibia’s most successful coach reiterated the need to exercise caution and not to expect too much from the team despite their recent exploits.

“Let us be realistic. This team is still a work in progress. I’m still not happy with how we play. We are not satisfied with what we’ve achieved. I want more,” Mannetti said.

“Like I said before Cosafa is just the beginning. It is over and we need to move on and focus on the job at hand which is first of all the match in Niger next week. Before the tournament, I said we needed to make a statement in Cosafa and we did. Now we need to keep improving and make a statement in Africa,” he added.

The Brave Warriors squad for Niger consists of Virgil Vries, Max Mbaeva, Willem Mwedihanga, Chris Katjiukua, Denzil Haoseb, Ananias Gebhardt, Gregory Aukumeb, Denis Tjetjinda, Neville Tjiueza, Willy Stephanus, Peter Shalulile and Ronald Ketjijere.

Also part of the training camp are Loydt Kazapua, Charles Uirab, Benyamin Nenkavu, Ferdinand Karongee, Brian Gurirab, Absalom Iimbondi, Charles hambira, Tiberius Lombardt and Dynamo Fredericks.

Source : The Namibian