With Namibia’s plans not looking good for the 2017 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon, one wonders just how much of a push the Brave Warriors can make for the 2018 World Cup.
Namibia is coming off a high of making another step on the road to Russia after beating Gambia 2-1 at home in the preliminary rounds of the World Cup qualifiers.
Usually, the thought of Namibia’s football team qualifying for a World Cup would sound absolutely ridiculous, but we are living in strange times. The team won their first-ever trophy in Namibia’s history.
They accomplished this feat in the same year that their rugby counterparts, the Welwitschias -although they lost all their matches at the 2015 Rugby World Cup - got their first point at a World Cup, and put up a fight against some of the biggest rugby nations in the world.
The team seems to have great chemistry with coach Ricardo Mannetti at the helm, and the football on the pitch also appears to be slowly improving.
There is a crop of young players coming up in the team who could lead the squad for years to come, such as Hendrick Somaeb, whose second-half goal saw Namibia overcome Gambia to move to the next round.
And no one can deny the almost Paul Scholes-esque moves Are we on the brink of greatness? of young Wangu Gome, who seems to glide with the ball latched onto his feet.
So, is a World Cup qualification still sounding that ridiculous? The Brave Warriors’ next opponents may have something to say about that.
Namibia takes on Guinea on the 9th and 17th of November, with the first leg being at home. Although this might, in some way, serve as an advantage with home support as we might be able to intimidate the opposition and get a goal or two, Guinea’s players are no pushovers.
Guinea is a team on the up. On the back of participation at this year’s Afcon (since failing to qualify in 2013) held between January and February, they have a decent pool of players who ply their trade in Europe, particularly in Belgium. Guinea’s last two games consisted of a win and a draw against some of Africa’s giants of football, Algeria and Morocco, respectively.
While local fans ride this cloud we have been on since May, not counting the defeats to Niger and Senegal in the Afcon qualifiers and the penalty shoot-out defeat to Zambia in the African Championship of Nations or CHAN, this tie against Guinea is really the last stop to greatness left. A defeat would of course mean going back to the drawing board, but at least we would have the defence of our COSAFA Cup to look forward to.