RICARDO Mannetti on Monday challenged potential new recruits to give him a reason to include them in Namibia's team for the African Nations Championships (Chan).
The friendly international presents the Brave Warriors' head coach with the chance to run the rule over fringe players, including forward Panduleni Nekundi, who returns to the national fold on the back of his rich vein of goalscoring form for Namibia Premier League log leaders African Stars.
Called up to the senior side for the first time is fellow Stars teammate and defender Tjiuana-Tja Tjinotjiua, Tura Magic forward Junias Theophilus and midfielder Christiaan Jakobus of Orlando Pirates.
Striker Itamunua Keimuine has been dropped, while Chan qualification hero Muna Katupose and Benyamin Nenkavu miss out due to injury.
“No one is safe in this team. Being on this list doesn't guarantee you to be in Morocco for Chan in January,” Mannetti said.
He has a core group of regulars who are a shoe-in for the Chan. However, the auditions for a place at the continental tournament are ongoing.
Of the 23 players called up for Saturday's match, only three – Larry Horaeb, Denzil Haoseb and Peter Shalulile - are foreign-based.
“I'm forever looking for new and more options. I want to see more competition in the team. There's not enough depth,” Mannetti explained.
“For those players not called up for this game, it's not the end of the world. So, don't be surprised when you get that call. We don't want a situation where those in the team become comfortable and complacent. They must be scared that someone can take their place.”
The 2015 Cosafa Cup-winning coach said he expected his side to get a thorough examination from formidable opponents who are favourites, given the array of talent in their ranks.
Interim Zimbabwe Warriors' coach Wilson Mutekede named 10 foreign-based and 12 local-based players in his squad.
The foreign-based players include previously uncapped Tendai Darikwa from Nottingham Forest, Admiral Muskwe from Leicester City and Macauley Bonne from Leyton Orient in England.
The match against Namibia will be Zimbabwe's second friendly during the November international break, as they are scheduled to play Lesotho in Maseru on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe are using the friendly matches to prepare for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo in March next year.
“On paper, the Zimbabwean side is stronger than us, given the players they've called up. But the paper is not playing on Saturday. So, the pressure is on them,” Mannetti said of the visitors.
“We have a mission, just like they do. We want to give as much game time to our players who are eligible for Chan. But in saying so, we also want to win the cup,” he added.
Winning Saturday's match would be gratifying on two fronts - getting the better of a much-fancied Zimbabwe side for the second time this calendar year, and giving Namibia confidence that they can hold their own against the continent's top nations in Morocco.
“We want to win every game at Chan. The draw is not out yet, so we don't know who we'll play. But the objective is to get out of the group. I'll be a very happy man if we manage that, then we take it from there,” Mannetti said.
In the Brave Warriors squad for the Dr Hage Geingob Cup match against Zimbabwe are:
Goalkeepers - Edward Maova, Charles Uirab, Loydt Kazapua;
Defenders - Ferdinand Karongee, Tjiuana-Tja Tjinotjiua, Charles Hambira, Edmund Kambanda, Larry Horaeb, Tiberius Lombard, Denzil Haoseb, Riaan !Hananub;
Midfielders - Immanuel Heita, Dynamo Fredericks, Christiaan Jakobus, Ronald Ketjijere, Petrus Shitembi, Wangu Batista Gome, Absalom Iimbondi;
Forwards - Junias Theopilus, Hendrik Somaeb, Panduleni Nekundi, Roger Kumbee Katjiteo and Peter Shalulile.
- Title: RICARDO Mannetti on Monday challenged potential new recruits to give him a reason to include them in Namibia's team for the African Nations Championships (Chan).
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- Date: 3:59 PM