Brave Warriors Coach Ricardo Mannetti has blamed the poor showing by his charges that saw them being given the boot in the early rounds of the Cosafa 2016 tournament by Botswana 5 -4 on penalties on the lack of preparedness by some players to perform at the highest level.
The Brave Warriors’ failure to break history and become one of the very few teams in the region that have retained the cup, which has now grown to include heavy weights like the Democratic Republic of Congo, who played on a special invite with five of their players that won the CHAN tournament recently, have been a bitter pill to swallow for the local enthusiastic crowd that had packed the Sam Nujoma Stadium to rafters on the fateful day.
He says some of the players were thrown into the deep end and could have found it difficult to adapt to the pressure associated with playing at the highest level
The team, however, later improved their showing in the plate tournament, a less glamorous losers’ final. The crushing loss saw the Brave Warriors failing to keep their coveted Cosafa Cup which they won last year.
“After I had called up a few players we had a few challenges and at the end of the day we had to throw a couple of players into the deep end and also give them time to grow” said Mannetti.
Mannetti maintains that despite crushing out, the team played the best football at the moment and also quashed any agitations that the team may have choked in front of the home crowd.
“There is no choking situation. Penalties are like a lottery, you don’t choke when you play the lottery. You wish for the best, you want to win the million bucks. So it’s not a situation of chocking,” said Mannetti.
Last year’s tournament saw young players Wangu Gome and Peter Shalulile making a name for themselves inspiring new names to the squad list and those still playing at club level to be able to do the same.
Despite the inability to defend the title Mannetti still maintains that the Brave Warriors have played some of the best football that the Namibian nation has seen thus far.
Having missed a penalty against Botswana, last year’s local darling in the competition, Deon Hotto had been the grunt of many a joke, but he made up for it with a goal against Mozambique refuting claims that he had choked under the pressure giving a performance that earned him a Man of the Match prize.
Mannetti noted that a player that chokes under pressure would not be willing to come back and win the title of Man of the Match in the next game.