Mannetti briefs media ahead of Congo clash

WINDHOEK: The senior national football team coach has expressed disappointment with a German-based player who refused a call-up ahead of Namibia’s Confederation of African Football (CAF) Nations Cup clash against Congo Brazzaville here on Saturday.

Ricardo Mannetti said during a media briefing here on Monday the reason given by Manfred Starke from German side Hansa Rostock is not valid for abandoning a national call-up.

“Manfred told us he will not make it for the national team because his club just recruited a new coach and they have two games left to play in the league,” he said.

Starke is part of a 25-man squad called up for a training camp in preparation for the first leg of the CAF qualifier at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek. The second leg will take place in Pointe-Noire, Congo Brazzaville on 01 June.

The coach said he expected Starke to come wear the national team jersey with pride and fight for his country to qualify for the CAF Nations Cup.

“He (Starke) is disrespecting his call-up and failing his nation,” said Mannetti disappointedly.

He, however, noted that Starke might still be called up for future matches, but that will be a “difficult consideration”.

Mannetti revealed that Tigers Football Club player Pekka Hamukwaya will also not attend the training camp, because his club did not release him.

From the 25 players called up, only 18 players will make the cut for the team to face Congo Brazzaville.

The coach further called on the nation to go to the stadium in large numbers to “make life hell for the visiting Congo Brazzaville team”.

“Congo specialise in making life hell for their opponents, and why don’t we as Namibians – from supporters to media and my players – also make the game hell for them when they play us,” said Mannetti

The Congo Brazzaville team will arrive in Windhoek on Wednesday.