Namibia is surprise package at AFCON

The Brave Warriors will be in group D with Morocco, Ivory Coast and South Africa.

24 June 2019 | Sports

Collin April; Player Agent; The days of us being underdogs are long gone.

Walvis Bay - Adolf Kaure

Namibia’s leading soccer player agent, Collin April, says the Brave Warriors will surprise a lot of people at the 2019 CAF (Confederation of African Football) African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which is about to commence in Egypt.

According to April the team shows some promise and could spring some upsets at the competition.

“The days of us being underdogs are long gone. It’s not by luck that the team is at the African Cup of Nations. We have good players with experience who can let the team and motivate the other young players.”

Namibia is in arguably one of the toughest groups at the 2019 AFCON and will face Morocco, Ivory Coast and South Africa in Group D.

“Morocco and Ivory Coast are household names when it comes to football in Africa, with most of their players playing abroad and in top leagues. If we take the game to them and play attack football, we can upset them. With South Africa, we know their weaknesses and strengths. It will be one of the best games to watch as both teams have something in common.”

Namibia’s head coach, Ricardo Mannetti, has named a 23-man squad which will represent the country at the tournament. April, however, expressed his disappointment in Mannetti for dropping key players like defender Chris Katjiukua and goalkeeper Virgil Vries.

“The squad is young and some of the players will still be around for some time to represent the country in future. There are players I believe who should be in the team for their experience. I don’t agree with dropping Vries and taking a goalkeeper whom the coach will not even use. After AFCON we will have CHAN (African Nations Championship) and I would have kept Vries and rather prepare the local based goalkeeper for CHAN.”

April said he is also not happy with the decision to drop Chris Katjiukua.

“I also don’t agree with this but must accept the decision of the coach and respect that he knows much better than me and you. As a nation we must support the team in its entirety. If I have to select the team I would start with Isaskar Gurirab up front, having Peter Shalulile on the right and Deon Hotto on the left, with Manfred Starke playing behind the main striker. I would like to wish the technical team and the players all the best. As nation we are proud of their achievements.”

April said the team also needs spiritual support and requested that the nation pray for them as playing at the AFCON is a big responsibility.

Egypt defeats Zimbabwe in tournament opener

Hosts Egypt opened the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) by beating Zimbabwe 1-0 in Cairo on Friday.

Midfielder Trezeguet scored the goal just before halftime, when he weaved in from the left wing, played a one-two with Ayman Ashraf, wrong-footed two defenders and shot into the right corner of the net.

Egypt is a record seven-time African Cup champion but won the last of its titles in 2010.

Warriors ready for action

Coach Ricardo Mannetti said his team is ready for their opening match of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) against Morocco toady (Sunday).

Mannetti said he is confident his Brave Warriors will do well following a training camp in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

He added that Namibia is an underdog, after being drawn in Group D, perennially referred to as the “group of death,” at AFCON which will conclude on 19 July 2019.

“We plan to surprise Africa. The camp in Dubai helped us to balance our preparations ahead of the finals. We are the least expected team to win and that gives us the drive to do extra more and we are prepared to do that.”

He added that the team has confidence going into Morocco’s game today after defeating Ghana 1-0, which is why he thinks the team has the ability to surprise Africa.

“We can’t wait for the game to start so that we can continue to live the dream. Our first goal is to win our first match at AFCON and then the sky is the limit.”

The Brave Warriors will take on South Africa on June 28 at the Al Salam Stadium in their second match, while their final group game will be against Ivory Coast on 01 July at the Cairo International Stadium.

For the latest updates visit afcon.my.na

Additional reporting NAMPA / AP

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