Will the Real Warriors Please Stand Up?

Namibia’s Brave Warriors will require Benson Shilongo to extend his scoring exploits if they are to defeat Zimbabwe’s Warriors in their final Cosafa Cup group match on Thursday.

Shilongo, one of four changes to a Namibian side held 0-0 by Seychelles on Sunday, lived up to his pre-match billing as the Brave Warriors’ messiah, scoring twice as Namibia registered a 2-0 win over Mauritius on Tuesday to keep alive their hopes of reaching the quarterfinal stage for the second time in as many tournaments.

However, despite another dominant display, the Brave Warriors continued to squander an abundance of goal-scoring opportunities, just as they had against the Seychelles in their opening match, something that drew a witty reaction out of President Hage Geingob on social media.

“At last! Congratulations Brave Warriors, we are so proud of you. Please come to State House for free aice on finishing,” Geingob quipped on his Twitter handle, @hagegeingob.

Scoring goals has proven to be the perennial undoing of the Brave Warriors on the international stage, and had it not been for Shilongo’s contribution, which included a tap in after just four minutes and a second half penalty, that poor barren run looked to be extending.

“It was important for us to win today and we are now looking forward to our last game of the opening round of the tournament. Playing Zimbabwe will be our most crucial game as this will be a decider game on who goes through to the next round. Tomorrow, we will focus on that game but as for today I just want to thank the boys for winning because that shows that prayers can also be answered,” a relieved Mannetti told Nampa after the match.

KO FOOTBALL

Zimbabwe and Namibia will go head-to-head for top spot in their Cosafa Cup 2015 Group A after both teams picked up wins against island nations on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe hold the aces having made it two wins from two with a 1-0 win over a gutsy Seychelles, while Namibia are two points back after they eased past the 10-men of Mauritius.

That means Namibia must defeat Zimbabwe to reach the knock-out stage, while the Zimbabweans need just a draw, setting up a thrilling finale to the pool.

Mauritius and Seychelles will be playing for pride and a higher placing in the group.

Zimbabwe followed up a two-goal victory over Mauritius two days ago by defeating the ultra-cautious Seychelles 1-0 through a superb Talent Chawapiwa goal.

Given their rich pedigree in the competition and their g start to the current edition, Zimbabwe are favourites to win today’s match and join the top six teams who enter the tournament at the quarterfinal stage.

Mannetti is however unfazed by the task at hand and believes his charges have enough arsenal to emerge victorious.

“We are just a goal away from reaching the next round of the Cosafa Cup. I know Zimbabwe is playing attacking football just like us, but we are creating more scoring chances than them and anything can happen when we get on to the field tomorrow,” he said.

“I expect them to play an open game tomorrow and also attack us because they would like to prove themselves as being the dominant team in the group.

“Come tomorrow, they will go into the game with the aim of scoring more goals to please their fans and that might just play to our aantage as it will open up the game,” the under pressure coach added.

Thanks to their superior Fifa rankings, hosts South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, guests Ghana and defending champions Zambia have been exempted from taxing group stage battles.

Madagascar were due to play Tanzania with Swaziland meeting Lesotho in Rustenburg later yesterday in the second series of Group B matches. – Additional reporting from Nampa.

Source : The Namibian