No special call-ups, earn your place – Mannetti

Windhoek: Brave Warriors mentor Ricardo Mannetti is strictly sticking to basic principles, whereby all players will be required to work hard and remain consistent to earn themselves a place in the national team. This is as opposed to ‘special call-ups’ that players many a time expect from coaches.

Announcing his 18-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary round clash against Gambia in Banjul this coming Saturday, the Cosafa Cup-winning coach specifically directed his message to the strikers, urging them to seriously start talking with their boots rather than expect a call-up because they play in foreign leagues.

“As coach, the first thing I look at when calling up a player, particularly a striker, is his goal-scoring record at club level. If I’m not impressed with his record or the player’s overall performance, then I will not call up that specific player. For example, in the case of Tangeni Shipahu, I have not called up Tangeni for over a year now and it is very simple – the player has not been scoring lately, and if he starts scoring and his record starts speaking for itself, then I will take notice and eventually call him up,’’ said Mannetti.

Shipahu plays for Krabi in Thailand’s Division One League.

Another veteran player also missing in the Brave Warriors squad is Botswana-based striker Jerome Louis, who Mannetti also said was dropped because of his poor scoring record at club level in recent times, while his overall fitness was another concern for the coach.

He added that his doors are always open for players performing well at club level and that currently he is in the process of building a team that can represent the country for a long time.

All Namibian-based players departed for Banjul, Gambia on Saturday via Johannesburg, while the South Africa and Botswana-based players only travel today with the team manager, as they had to fulfill their club commitments over the weekend. Namibia will return home to play the same opponents in the second leg on Tuesday October 13 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium at 16h00.

The squad is as follows: Virgil Vries, Maximillian Mbaeva, Chris Katjiukua, Willem Mwedihanga, Benyamin Nenkavu, Hendrik Somaeb, Denzil Haoseb, Dennis Ngueza, Ananias Gebhardt, Willy Stephanus, Benson Shilongo, Wangu Gome, Deon Hotto, Ronald Ketjijere, Heinrich Isaacks, Joslin Kamatuka, Petrus Shitembi and Absalom Iimbondi.