Keep your eyes on the ball - Mannetti

08 November 2018 | Sports

Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti has implored football-loving Namibians to keep their eyes on the ball and forget about the current issues and infighting unfolding in the corridors of the Namibia Football Association (NFA).

Mannetti was speaking at a media conference yesterday in Windhoek, where he announced a 26-man training squad ahead of a critical Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Guinea-Bissau next weekend.

“I want it to be a hashtag; I want the players, coaches, fans, sponsors and everyone else to keep their eyes on the ball. Let's forget about the squabbles and focus on playing football,” he said.

The head coach said he selected a squad of tried-and-tested players and has not made many changes to the squad, which he regards as having “depth”.

“To people who are always saying that we are always playing the same guys: a national team is not supposed to change players week in and week out.”

Mannetti said recent away and home wins against Mozambique have grown the confidence levels of the players, but they will not be complacent going into their last two Afcon qualification matches.

“I don't expect complacency. It will be childish for anyone to become complacent and the players know that.”

In response to losing defensive stalwart Denzil Haoseb because of a red card he picked up against Mozambique, Mannetti said it's not an issue, as he will be covered by other players.

He said the team has capable players coming in and the backline has been bolstered.

Mannetti added they are happy with the fitness levels of the players.

In addition, they have studied the Guinea-Bissau team and are familiar with the way they play.

The crunch match will be played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium next Saturday, with Namibia on the verge of qualifying for the continental showpiece, a decade since they played at the 2008 finals.

The training squad is as follows:

Maximillian Mbaeva, Virgil Vries, Lloyd Kazapua, Chris Katjiukua, Larry Horaeb, Tiberius Lombard, Charles Hambira, Emilio Martin, Vitapi Ngaruka, Riaan Hanamub, Ananias Gebhardt, Dynamo Fredericks, Petrus Shitembi, Ronald Ketjijere, Wangu Gome, Immanuel Heita, Absalom Iimbondi, Deon Hotto, Willy Stephanus, Marcel Papama, Hendrik Somaeb, Muna Katupose, Sadney Urikhob, Benson Shilongo, Itamunua Keimuine and Peter Shalulile.

LIMBA MUPETAMI