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Afcon qualifier postponement could be blessing in disguise

Summary

Brave Warriors coach Collin Benjamin says the postponement of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers could be a blessing in disguise for Namibia.Speaking to Nampa on Sunday following the confirmation by the Confederation of African Football …

Brave Warriors coach Collin Benjamin says the postponement of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers could be a blessing in disguise for Namibia.

Speaking to Nampa on Sunday following the confirmation by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee that the qualifiers have been revised, Benjamin said this “can allow Namibia to fix the stadium issue, as time is now on our side”.

“We now have eight months until our next competitive international fixtures. This is ample time for us to sit as stakeholders and fix our stadiums. We have three more qualifiers. One of these games is a home match,” Benjamin said.

He added that if Namibia can play the Cameroon game in Windhoek, this will put the team at an advantage as they will be able to use the home supporters as extra motivation.

“The strength of a crocodile is in the river, hence the need for us to fill up the Sam Nujoma or Independence stadiums and create an intimidating atmosphere for the visiting team. We can use our home ground advantage to steal points from Cameroon,” he added.

His views were echoed by football analyst Isack Hamata, who said this allows Namibia to put domestic football in order with the resumption of the league, and also repair the stadium.

“If we start our league in October or November, that gives the technical team time to look at local players and get them fit. The current situation of training before big matches and tournaments is not sustainable,” Hamata said.

Award-winning journalist Limba Mupetami said with the slow pace at which things are done in Namibia, it may not be possible to get the stadiums ready, but the league can be up and running.

“The league must start in earnest so that the players can improve their fitness. The fans are hungry for football, and if a big team like Cameroon comes here, the stadium will be full. Orlando Pirates and Black Africa just showed us how much locals miss the game,” she said.

The CAF executive committee on Sunday approved a revised TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 revised qualification calendar following their meeting on Friday in Tanzania.

This was necessitated by the need to make room for the African nations that have qualified for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in November-December to prepare adequately.

The qualifiers scheduled for September (match day three and match day four) are now moved to 20-28 March 2023.

Match day five will now be on 12-20 June 2023 while match day six will be played 4-12 September 2023.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency