We Have Not Reached Our Goal Yet – Mannetti

The Brave Warriors are prepared and ready for Madagascar when the two sides clash in their Cosafa Cup semifinal at Moruleng Stadium this afternoon.

Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti said Sunday’s quarterfinal victory against Zambia and the outpouring of congratulations they received didn’t change the fact that they had yet to reach their goal at the tournament.

“We are not being distracted by anything or getting overwhelmed by what we have achieved so far. We still haven’t reached our goal and I told the players they must remain focussed until the last game,” he said.

“We know our qualities and I still think that we haven’t seen the best of this team. I believe they can still go up another gear and if we do that we will do well,” he added.

Mannetti said he had a full squad to choose from and that his players were physically and psychologically ready for the challenge. He also dismissed rumours on social media that captain Ronald ‘Stigga’ Ketjijere would not be available for the match.

“The stories about Stigga are not true. He missed one training session because he had to write an exam, but he is back with the squad and will lead us against Madagascar,” he said.

When Namibia reached the quarterfinals, Mannetti decided to release Nicky Musambani and Hendrik ‘Ballack’ Somaeb and replaced them with Heinrich Isaacks and Willy ‘Awilo’ Stephanus, and he said his decision was vindicated against Zambia.

“When we reached the quarterfinals I brought in Heini and Awilo because of their experience. The further we go, the more experienced players we need and that showed in the penalty shootout. I started with them in the shootout and they got us off to a good start,” he said.

Mannetti said he expected a tough challenge from Madagascar and was not buying their claims of being the underdogs for the match.

“Madagascar is trying to take the underdog tag for themselves but I don’t think that is true. Both teams have gone through in the same fashion. We both topped our groups and we both beat g teams in the quarterfinals – they beat Ghana and we beat Zambia, so I think two very g teams will face each other in the semifinal,” he said.

The Brave Warriors received great support on Sunday when numerous fans travelled by bus to South Africa for the match and Mannetti said their support had played a vital role in their success.

“I was very surprised to see the great support we had against Zambia. The government made two busses available and they drove all the way from Namibia to be here,” he said.

“When our players saw the Namibian flags and heard the support from our fans they were initially shocked but it was a great boost and gave them that extra motivation. I’m really thankful for those fans, they showed real commitment and really helped us beat Zambia,” he added.

Today’s match will start at 16h00 Namibian time and will be screened live by SuperSport and NBC television.

Source : The Namibian