The permanent secretary of sport Emma Kantema-Gaomas with officials and players at the Brave Warriors' training session on Monday.
WITH the countdown to Saturday's Afcon qualifier against Zambia already having started, the Brave Warriors are gearing up for a do-or-die encounter.
After a two-hour training session at Sam Nujoma Stadium on Monday afternoon, coach Ricardo Mannetti said his players were out to make history.
“For me personally it's a very important match and for the players as well. They are so motivated to make it to the 2019 African Cup of Nations - they want to be in the history books of Namibian football and they are willing to die for it, so we are positive that we will give a good performance on Saturday and that we will get a good result,” he said.
It certainly is a crucial encounter and both teams will be going all out for a victory after they both lost their opening encounters on 10 June last year.
Namibia lost 1-0 to Guinea Bissau away in Bissau, while Zambia suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Mozambique after conceding a goal in the last minute of the match.
Mannetti alluded to this, saying they expected Zambia to come out attacking.
“We expect a very strong squad from Zambia and I expect they will come and fight for a result - we don't expect them to sit back, but we will certainly not sit back either so that should make it a very interesting encounter.”
Mannetti has recalled two foreign-based players in midfielder Willy Stephanus and striker Sadney Urikhob after a long absence from the national squad.
Stephanus who has won 42 caps for his country, last played for Namibia two years ago, while Urikhob, with 31 caps, last played three years ago.
“I've worked with them since they were teenagers, so they know what I expect, I know their strengths and weaknesses and I expect a lot from them. There's a lot of expectations on players with abilities and they are certainly players who can change the game for us,” Mannetti said.
Striker Benson Shilongo was the last foreign-based player to join the squad on Tuesday, and Mannetti said they were primed and ready for the match.
“We've already started with our tactics just to make sure that everyone is on the same wavelength, so we've had some good sessions so far. Benson will arrive on Tuesday then we'll be 100 percent and ready to go,” he said.
The permanent secretary of sport Emma Kantema-Gaomas also visited the Warriors' training session on Monday and met the players to give her support and Mannetti said her presence meant a lot to the team.
“It means so much to us. She's been supporting us ever since she's been in office and she also joined us in Morocco at the Chan tournament and it's always good to see that the office, especially the administrators, are also part of it and not only us as the technical staff. So it tells you that it's a very important game and that everyone is behind the team and everyone wants the team to do well,” Mannetti said.
He called on the Namibian public to come out in large numbers to support the Brave Warriors.
“The crowd must come out to support the players. I always say that even if your favourite player is not in the team you don't have a choice, because this team is yours so I expect a crowd that will come and support their team. I don't think the crowd needs any encouragement, otherwise there is something seriously wrong if football fans need any encouragement to come to the game. I think this is a personal thing, it's your team playing at home, so there's no reason why the stadium shouldn't be packed.”
The match will kick off at 16h00 on Saturday, and entry tickets are on sale for N$50 on Computicket outlets at Shoprite and Checkers stores countrywide as well as at Football House in Katutura.
- Title: Brave Warriors out to make history
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- Date: 4:13 PM