Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti on Tuesday announced 29 local based players that will train for six weeks ahead of the first of Namibia’s four African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 Group K, qualifiers with the final match scheduled to take place in March 2019.
Mannetti, cognizant of the pressure that will come with the vital 2019 CAF AFCON qualifiers today starts with training camp and have called up 29 players as the Brave Warriors prepare to host Zambia on September 8. They will then play Mozambique on 10 and 13 October and finish off the year with a date at home against Guinea-Bissau on 16 November 2018.
“We have a lot of crucial games coming up for us and we have to start now. Reaching the 20-19 AFCON finals has been my mandate and remains my plan to take the team there. This year we competed at CHAN and now we have to play at another continental tournament and we need to prepare and prepare well,” Mannetti says.
UNAM FC striker Muna Katupose and Tura Magic midfielder Petrus Shitembi are back at training after missing out on the 2018 COSAFA CUP with various injuries and six national under 23 players who shone on their recent tour to China are also included in the training squad. Former Blue Waters striker Hendrick Somaeb also make the training team and Civics goalkeeper Edward Maova who also returns from injury.
Mannetti remains optimistic about with Project 2019: These preparations are essential because this is a pre-season squad and most players have not played football for the past three months opposed to Zambia, who are currently in season.
“Training will start today and we have six (6) weeks training worth of training to get the boys ready in terms of fitness. We already lost our first match against Guinea Bissau this means we are not going to experiment much; we are going to go with the trailed and tested players. COSAFA definitely showed us that Zambia is not an easy opponent and we need to make sure we beat them here at home in that regard there will be familiar names in the squad, players that we have worked with in the past, players that are able to withstand pressure,” he said.
He added the the junior Warriors lads are not here to make up numbers:
The Brave Warriors have a responsibility towards the Association thus the reason why the squad consists of six (6) U/23 players who showed impressive talent during their games in China.
The players stand a strong challenge to make it to the final squad, this is merely to get them used to playing with players that are better than them and for them to get used to training with high tempo because they also have qualification games,” Mannetti said.
2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualification Matches:
Namibia vs Zambia 7th September 2018
Mozambique vs Namibia 10th ` October 2018
Namibia vs Mozambique 13th October 2018
Namibia vs Guinea Bissau 16th November 2018
Zambia vs Namibia 22nd March 2019