Warriors Geared Up for ‘Magical Day’

Goals will be of paramount importance when the Brave Warriors take on Congo in their first leg Afcon 2015 preliminary qualifier in Windhoek on Saturday.

With the return leg due to take place at the intimidating Revolution Stadium in Brazzaville on 31 May, a g start on Saturday will be imperative if Namibia hope to progress further in the competition.

Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti has risen to the challenge and has called on Namibian fans to come out in numbers to witness a ‘magical day.’

“For this game the players need your support, the players will need you to be positive and to make it hell for Congo. They should feel the animosity on the pitch, from the players as well as from the fans.”

“If that is in place, I can guarantee you it will be a magical day on Saturday,” he said during yesterday’s training session.

Mannetti said he was satisfied with the fitness of his players and thanked the Premier League clubs for releasing their national players well in aance.

“My camp started a little early so I want to thank the clubs for their cooperation, that they released the players last week already when we started with an intense fitness programme that ended on Saturday.”

“I’m very happy with the fitness of the players and I think it’s the first time that I can assure the nation that we really have a fit team,” he said.

Congo Brazzaville have a higher international ranking at 92 compared to Namibia’s 120, according to this month’s FIFA rankings, but this did not deter Mannetti.

“In football you always have a chance and football is a game where unexpected things can happen. It’s a game full of surprises and for me, we need to get it right on the day. We need to be sound on the attack, we need to keep it tight in defence, because I don’t want to concede any goals at home, and there is still an away game that we need to take care of.”

“So I’m in no way scared of Congo. I respect them in terms of the fact that they have a lot of European based players, and they have a lot of players in the African Champions League, but come Saturday it will be a completely different ball game. It will be us against them and we will ask the questions and it will be up to them to provide the answers,” he said.

The Afcon 2015 qualifying campaign will be particularly difficult with the aggregate winner between Namibia and Congo still having to play the winner between Libya and Rwanda in a second preliminary qualifier before the actual qualifying campaign starts in September.

Mannetti, however, said he was not thinking that far ahead and was just focussing on tomorrow’s game.

“We played Rwanda two years ago and drew 2-2 against them in Rwanda although we should have easily won that game. We haven’t played Libya in recent years, but we all know that they are the CHAN champions after beating Ghana in the final, so they are a very able squad. But I don’t want to look too far ahead, I just want to get past Congo first,” he said.

By Thursday, all of Namibia’s foreign-based players had arrived and participated in the morning training session. They were goalkeeper Virgil Vries, defenders Willem Mwedihanga, midfielders Ronald Ketjijere, Rudolf Bester, Heini Isaacks, Petrus Shitembi and Lazarus Kaimbi, and strikers Tangeni Shipahu and Jerome Louis.

Mannetti, who was still due to reduce the 23-man squad to a final 18, said he would make his final decision on Friday morning.

Tickets for Saturday’s match, which starts at 16h00 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, are N$40 per person and are available at the NFA Soccer House and at the entrance, and are also available through Computicket at Shoprite and Checkers countrywide.

Source : The Namibian