Under-17 national team confident ahead of Mozambique match

WINDHOEK: The national under-17 football team is in confident mood ahead of their 2015 Confederation of African Football (CAF) second-leg qualifier match against Mozambique at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday.

The ‘Baby Warriors’ travelled to Mozambique a week ago, and took on their local counterparts in Maputo for the qualifiers of the 2015 CAF African under-17 championship, which will be hosted in Niger.

They drew one-all there.

This past Saturday, they played two preparatory games at Otjiwarongo.

They won the first encounter against Otjiwarongo Football Club by 2-1, with Tuhafeni Leonard and teammate Venovineja Tjikundi on target.

They followed that up with another 2-1 victory against Okakarara’s Touch & Go. The same players – Leonard and Tjikundi – were on the score-sheet again.

A media statement availed to Nampa by the Namibia Football Association (NFA) on Monday quoted under-17 assistant coach Timothy Tjongarero as saying that preparations for the second-leg match are going well.

He noted that the technical team is keen to ensure that the boys represent the country “gallantly”.

“These boys have shown character, and the necessary mental strength which we always preach about whenever we play in Africa, and for them to get a draw away from home is more than encouraging as it shows that they believe in themselves.

Being at home on Saturday, we expect more of the same from them,” enthused Tjongarero.

He added that despite the current score-line, they are not getting carried away, and will take the game as it comes.

“We played in Mozambique, and that is over now. We have one more game against them, and we know it won’t be easy.

They will come here with one thing on their minds, and we have to support and coach the boys to absorb the pressure and play their game as well, and see what the outcome will be.

The team knows that we are on the verge of making history, but whatever happens, they know we are proud of them,” the gaffer continued.

The 2015 African under-17 Championships in Niger will be the 16th edition of the football competition, organised by CAF.

The tournament will be played from 15 February to 01 March 2015, and not between 02 and 16 May 2015 as originally scheduled.

Teams reaching the semi-final stage will qualify for the 2015 FIFA under-17 World Cup, which takes place in Chile, South America from 17 October to 08 November next year.

The qualifiers are set to end on 28 September 2014 with the third round. At the end of the qualification phase, seven teams will join hosts Niger.