Wounded Warriors Seek Redemption

Thanks to wayward finishing coach Ricardo Mannetti will not be placed under the spotlight this time around for the Brave Warriors’ unacceptable lukewarm showing during their opening match of the Cosafa Cup, underway in South Africa.

Namibia launched their assault in the four-nation group preliminaries with a shocking or rather embarrassing goalless stalemate against regional minnows Seychelles.

The disappointing result leaves the Warriors with the unenviable task of having to beat both Zimbabwe and Mauritius in their final two matches. That mission starts this afternoon when Mannetti’s wounded soldiers trot onto the field to confront lowly Mauritius in a bid to restore their dented pride.

Another lukewarm performance will send the Namibians packing with their tales between their legs but Mannetti remains unfazed.

“Obviously I must confess that I’m extremely disappointed by our failure to fashion a decent result against opponents whom we had on the ropes for the better part of the match but that’s the nature of football,” he said.

Despite his disappointment, the former Warriors and Santos (SA) midfield anchorman is upbeat and believes Namibia have what it takes to regroup and carve themselves a place in the quarterfinals of the regional competition.

“I’ve watched Zimbabwe in their 2-0 win against Mauritius and was not entirely impressed with their level of competitiveness and strength.

“Our boys did not play that badly against Seychelles – it’s just a matter of composure in the penalty box and making the right decisions in the final quarter of the field.”

The Warriors created a significant number of goal-scoring chances and should have been at least three goals to the good going into the changeover.

“To be quite honest, goal scoring has been a serial Achilles heel for us over the last couple of years and I really hope the arrival of Benson Shilongo will give us a new dimension in that department.”

Shilongo, who plies his trade with Botswana outfit Gaborone United, missed the opening match through club commitments but has since joined his team-mates in Rustenburg and is available for selection.

The skillful dreadlocked lanky striker is expected to partner Ballack Somaeb and Nicky-Boy Musambani in a three-pronged attack with the pair of Sadney Uri-Khob and stocky midfielder Wangu-Batista Gomes likely to drop to the substitutes’ bench.

African Stars overlapping fullback Dennis “Law” Tjetjinda is likely to make way for Black Africa’s versatile defender Denzil Hoaseb in the starting line-up.

Attacking midfielder Petrus “Dancing Shoes” Shitembi was doubtlessly one of Namibia’s most outstanding players in the goalless draw against Seychelles and could be a definite starter alongside captain fantastic Stigga Ketjijere for the do-or -die clash against Mauritius later today.

Mannetti will be well aised to try out Neville Tjiueza as the Warriors appeared to be seriously found wanting in the conspicuous absence of a creative midfielder in their pack.

Source : New Era