Brave Warriors left back, Riaan !Hanamub, is confident that the national football team can cause an upset in their Group K Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers match against leaders Mozambique on Saturday.
Namibia currently anchor Group K with one point from two matches after playing out to a 1-all draw against Zambia in Windhoek on 8 September and losing 1-0 away to Guinea-Bissau in June last year.
But the Jomo Cosmos defender, who is one of the 14 foreign-based players called by Coach Ricardo Mannetti for the match against Mozambique, believes Namibia can still cause a major upset despite the odds staked against them.
The soft-spoken former Touch and Go FC player said he knows very well that the pressure will be on Namibia as Mozambique have four points from their two matches following a 1-0 win over Zambia and a 1-1 draw against Guinea-Bissau.
“The game against Mozambique is very important because we need to pick up points as soon as possible because the chances of qualifying for AFCON 2019 are dimming. I am positive that we are going out to cause headaches for Mozambique and emerge victorious,” !Hanamub said.
!Hanamub also believes that the national team has been improving under the guidance of Mannetti, adding that the other coach and members of the technical crew know how to bring the best out of every player.
The Brave Warriors were heavily criticized after the match against Zambia.
They were on the verge of collecting their first win in the campaign, but were duly punished after they went to sleep in the dying minutes of the match.
The match against Mozambique will see the return of Highlands Park striker, Peter Shalulile, who sustained an ankle injury in the final match of last season against Stellenbosch FC that forced him to miss the 2018 COSAFA Cup as well as the 1-all draw against Zambia last month.
The Brave Warriors who left the country on Sunday for training at the High Performance Center in South Africa, were due to arrive in Maputo, Mozambique on Thursday.
Namibia has qualified for the AFCON tournament only twice since independence in 1990, but !Hanamub is convinced that the team can still qualify for the AFCON finals for the third time if players follow the coach’s instructions and execute the plan very well.
Meanwhile, Mannetti has told the Windhoek Observer that the spirit in the camp is high despite match fitness concerns surrounding the local based players because of the absence of the Namibia Premier League, whose new season is yet to start.
“The spirit in the camp is awesome. There are no injuries. The only concern is for the local players because of the absence of the league for nearly five months. We need to play well in Mozambique in order to get a good result,” Mannetti said.
The return leg against Mozambique will be played on Tuesday, 16 October in Windhoek.
Namibia still has to play Guinea-Bissau in Windhoek on 16 November before they finish off away against Zambia on 22 March 2019.
Two teams from each group will qualify to the 2019 AFCON tournament that will take place in Cameroon on June 7– Jun 30, 2019.
The Brave Warriors squad for the Mozambique clash: Maximillian Mbaeva (Golden Arrows, RSA), Virgil Vries (Kaizer Chiefs, RSA), Ratanda Mbazuvara (African Stars), Loydt Kazapua (Macabbi FC, RSA) Larry Horaeb (Unattached), Emilio Martin (Black Africa), Tiberius Lombard (Lusaka Dynamos, Zambia), Charles Hambira (Baroka, RSA) Denzil Haoseb (Highlands Park, RSA), Vitapi Ngaruka (Black Africa), Riaan !Hanamub (Jomo Cosmos, RSA) Ananias Gebhardt (Baroka, RSA), Dynamo Fredericks (Black Africa), Petrus Shitembi (Unattached), Ronald Ketjijere (African Stars), Wangu Batista Gome (Cape Umoya, RSA), Immanuel Heita (Black Africa), Absalom Iimbondi (Tigers), Deon Hotto (Bidvest Wits), Willy Stephanus (AC Kanjaani, Finland), Marcel Papama (UNAM), Hendrik Somaeb (FK Zermun, Serbia), Muna Katupose (Unam), Sadney Urikhob (Unattached), Benson Shilongo (Smouha, Egypt) and Itamunua Keimuine (Dire Dawa City FC, Ethiopia).