Warriors Eye Positive Cosafa Cup Start

Namibia’s Brave Warriors cruised to a 4-2 victory over the Seychelles in a Cosafa Cup group game two years ago, and will look to make a statement of intent when they kick-start their latest Cosafa Cup aenture against the same opposition at the Moruleng Stadium in South Africa’s North West Province on Sunday.

In the weeks leading up to the tournament, head coach Ricardo Mannetti has reiterated the need for a disciplined and ruthless approach against the Seychelles and fellow Indian Ocean islanders Mauritius, who are expected to prop up a group in which Zimbabwe are the team to beat.

“It’s a very mixed group and looking at it you have to say there will be no easy games. I think everybody will be a little wary of everybody else. We certainly won’t underestimate anybody,” Mannetti told African Football in late April.

Namibia intend to have wrapped up qualification with victories over the minnows by the time they face Zimbabwe in their final group fixture.

“In 2013 we played both Mauritius and Seychelles in the pool stages and although we won both matches, it was tight,” Mannetti said.

“Then there is Zimbabwe, we all know how g they are, but we also hope they will not underestimate us and our strengths.

“I have faith in this [Brave Warriors] team. I want us to do much better than we did in Zambia.

“We have a better squad than in the previous tournament. There’s more depth and variety which will allow us to cope better with playing matches so close to each other,” Mannetti added.

Mannetti’s current side, which will use the Cosafa Cup as a yardstick for the 2016 African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers in early June, is overflowing with youthful exuberance, a quality he hopes will make up for their lack of international pedigree.

On Wednesday, he called-up young striker Itamunua Keimune to replace veteran target man Henrico Botes, who was denied participation in the competition by his South African Premiership side Wits University.

Nine more backup players will join the Brave Warriors’ camp in Johannesburg on Friday, before the team leaves for Moruleng on Saturday.

The players on stand-by are Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Charles Uirab and defender Brian Gurirab Tigers’ exciting young wing back Benjamin Nenkavu the Black Africa trio of Dynamo Fredericks Willy Stephanus and Heinrich Isaacks Tura Magic defensive pair Tiberius Lombard and Charles Hambira and African Stars defender Ferdinand Karongee.

INTENSE COMPETITION

The competition sees 14 teams entering this year, including guest nations Ghana, who finished runners up at the 2015 African Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea, and east-Africans Tanzania.

Eight teams enter the first round pool stage, split into two groups each containing four sides. They compete on a round robin bases with the top teams in each pool aancing to the quarterfinals.

Group A contains Zimbabwe, Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius, while Group B has Tanzania, Swaziland, Lesotho and Madagascar.

The top six teams according to the Fifa world rankings enter at the quarterfinal stage. Hosts South Africa take on Botswana, Mozambique clash with Malawi, Ghana play the winner of Group B and defending champions Zambia wait for the winners of Group A.

The losing quarterfinal teams compete in the Plate competition, with the winners aancing in the Cup.

In all 23 matches are played over 13 days of competition.

Source : The Namibian