Brave Warriors through to the World Cup qualification group stages …relief for FIFA NC

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Timo Shihepo

Windhoek - In the midst of troubles plaguing Namibia’s football, the country’s national team, the Brave Warriors, have qualified for the World Cup qualification group stages with an aggregate score line of 4-1 against Eritrea.

Namibia’s football is on a standstill with the premier league and lower leagues dormant as the stakeholders continue to be locked in boardroom squabbles. The Brave Warriors also continue to be without a head coach after Ricardo Mannetti’s contract was not renewed after the 2019 African Cup of Nations while former Brave Warriors midfielder, Collin Benjamin, turned down the temporary job.

The Namibia Football Association (NFA) under the FIFA Normalisation Committee (NC) drafted in Bobby Samaria at the eleventh hour to salvage the situation. Brave Warriors under Samaria has won three games out of four so far to the delight of the FIFA Normalisation Committee.

“We are through to the group stages of the World Cup qualifiers. I am very (very) happy,” FIFA Normalisation Committee chairperson, Hilda Basson-Namundjebo, told this reporter after the second leg match against Eritrea played in Windhoek on Tuesday.

On Tuesday against Eritrea, the Brave Warriors created a lot of chances but just managed to convert just two through Absalom Iimbodi in the first half and Peter Shalulile deep in second half stoppage time.

After the match, Samaria said he was ecstatic because from the go, they decided to use Eritrea as a vehicle which needs to take the team to the group stages of the World Cup qualifiers. He said he was glad that they utilised that opportunity to take the team through the group stages.

On the chances missed, Samaria said, “When you play at home there are a lot of highs and low, there is a lot of anxiety as well but I told them that they need to remain calm because we were in the driving seat and we didn’t need to change anything and the goals started to come. Yes they wasted couple of chances but I think Eritrea were not a threat at all,” he said.

On the way forward for the team, he said, “The way forward is that it was very evident by the balance of play that we were the better team. We have been known to play defensive football. We have changed that because I believe that not all birds should be caged. Some birds have bright feathers and you have to let them go out to fly and I think the guys showed this evening that they believed and that they could fly.”

Eritrea coach Alemseged Efrem said his team controlled the game but lambasted the mistakes made by his players.

“It’s because of these mistakes that we lost the game 1-0 down in the first half. We still believed that in the second half we stood a chance, we were controlling but we missed so many chances then they killed the game through a counter attack,” he said.  

 

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