Warriors off to Congo without Kaimbi and Botes

WINDHOEK; The Brave Warriors leave for Pointe-Noire for the crucial second leg of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Nations Cup qualifiers against Congo-Brazzaville on Saturday without experienced striker Henrico Botes and midfielder Lazarus Kaimbi.

The Warriors, who lead the fixture 1-0 after a Rudolph Bester goal in Windhoek a fortnight ago, had included veteran striker Botes for their preparations for the second leg to be played in Pointe-Noire on Sunday.

A statement availed to Nampa by the Namibia Football Association (NFA) on Tuesday said Platinum Stars striker Botes is not fit enough to be considered for selection. Thailand-based Kaimbi was also not be available for selection after his club declined to release him for the return leg, citing a busy league schedule.

Tangeni Shipahu of Ostospa, also in Thailand, is expected to meet up with the rest of the squad in Congo-Brazzaville if he makes the final 18 player list for the encounter.

If they do overcome Congo-Brazzaville and reach the next preliminary qualifying round, the Brave Warriors will again likely be hit by clubs’ refusal to release some players after the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) confirmed that clubs do not have to release players because the dates of the preliminary matches fall outside of FIFA’s calendar for international matches.

Meanwhile, the Brave Warriors technical team has released the two goalkeepers – Orlando Pirates’ Charles Uirab and Civics’ Edward Maova – which means Virgil Vries and Maximillian Mbaeva will vie for the starting place in Congo-Brazzaville.

The final travelling squad will be announced on Friday. The following 20 players are up for consideration: Max Mbaeva (African Stars); Virgil Vries (Maritzburg United, South Africa); Willem Mwedihanga (Amazulu, South Africa); Denzil Haoseb (Black Africa); Da Costa Angula and Ananias Gebhardt (both Black Africa FC); Ronald Ketjijere (University of Pretoria); Freedom Puriza and Dennis Ngueza (both African Stars); Emilio Martin; Willy Stephanus (both Black Africa); Hendrik Somaeb (Blue Waters); Neville Tjiueza (Tura Magic); Petrus Shitembi (Amazulu, South Africa); Heinrich Isaacks (Maritzburg United, South Africa); Nekundi Panduleni (Tigers FC); Wangu Gomes (Civics); Rudolf Bester (Golden Arrows, South Africa); Tangeni Shipahu (Otsotspa, Thailand); and Jerome Louis (Township Rollers, Botswana).