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Warriors ready for AFCON challenge

Warriors ready for AFCON challenge

Aili Iilonga

THE time has come for Namibia to cement its place on the grandest stage on the African continent, the AFCON tournament, in a match against Morocco slated for Sunday in Egypt.

The Brave Warriors will play Morocco on Sunday before taking on South Africa on 28 June, both at the Al Salam Stadium.

Namibia will play its final group game against Ivory Coast on 1 July at the Cairo International Stadium.

The long awaited appearance will be the third in Namibian history, with the previous appearances in 1998 and 2008.

IN TOP FORM: Namibia will play against Morocco at the 2019 AFCON Tournament. Photo Contributed

Brave Warriors’ road to 2019 AFCON started when Ricardo Mannetti took over as Head Coach in 2013, during which he promised to take the Warriors to the 2019 AFCON tournament.

Together with his trusted coaching staff, the Warriors also won the 2015 COSAFA edition in South Africa after beating Mozambique 2-0 in the finals.

The team, after confirming its place, flew off to Dubai for the players to get accustomed to the tough and dry conditions and prepare them physically and psychologically.

They played an international friendly game against Ghana and managed a 1-0 victory scored by foreign-based player, Manfred Starke, in 29th minute.

The team jetted into Cairo from Dubai on Tuesday afternoon, and had their first training session on Wednesday morning.

Coach Ricardo Mannetti reckons all is set for the opening game.

” Everyone understands their role in the team.. in how we can play and where we want to be. The selection of the final 23 players says it all in terms of tactical harmony. We have not beaten Morocco in about six games now and we have a lot of hope because of our preparations. It’s a once off match and it will be tricky and different and a draw or victory against Morocco will be key,” Mannetti said

The coach added that the response of the boys in the training session also adds value to the preparations.

”During the run this morning , the guys said they can handle this weather, which is good because we play in the afternoon on Sunday and compared to night temperatures of 33 degrees in Dubai, they can surely handle it. The team is poised to improve on its latest heroics and that can only be good for us,” added Mannetti.

On the injury front, Captain Ronald Ketjijere, winger Willy Stephanus and defender Ryan Nyambe are nursing minor knocks, but the coach is confident that the medical team will take care of all injuries in time for the opening match.

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