Mannetti backs Kazapua

Maccabi FC keeper set to don number one jersey at Afcon

12 June 2019 | Sports

Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti says Maccabi FC goalkeeper Loydt Kazapua is his first choice to start at Afcon 2019.

The shot-stopper was included in the final 23-man squad to represent Namibia at the upcoming continental showpiece in about two weeks' time.

Kazapua was chosen ahead experienced goalkeeper Virgil Vries, who was dropped from the squad at the last minute.

The other two goalkeepers are Golden Arrows' Maximilian Mbaeva and Ratanda Mbazuvara of African Stars.

Mannetti expressed confidence in the keeper and has backed his decision to choose Kazapua over Vries.

“Loydt was exceptional against Ghana and has proven his worth to the team in the last couple of matches. He will be our number one goalkeeper at the Africa Cup of Nations.

“I am also asking for the entire nation to stand behind him because he will need our support,” Mannetti said.

The coach also explained some of the decisions he made when selecting the final squad.

“Some of the players are not in the right physical condition and have not played for months.

“Others did not just show enough over the past two weeks and then there is attitude, which needs to be good,” Mannetti said.

Namibia have a mountain, after being drawn in Group D against Bafana Bafana, Ivory Coast and Morocco.

This will be the first 24-team Afcon - up from 16 - and will be hosted until 19 July.

The six group winners and six runners-up automatically qualify for the knockout stages and will be joined by the four best third-placed teams.

After the eight second-round fixtures, there will be the quarterfinals, semi-finals, a third-place play-off and the final.

Namibia will be kicking off their tournament against Morocco on 23 June.

They will play their second match against neighbours South Africa on 28 June before closing off their group encounters with a match against Côte d'Ivoire on 1 July.

Namibia are seeking their first-ever win in the competition after having failed on two occasions - in 1998 and 2008 - to secure a victory.

Group D is nearly a repetition of the 1998 Afcon tournament in Burkina Faso, when Namibia was drawn against Côte d'Ivoire, South African and Angola.

In 1998, Namibia finished at the bottom of the table with only one point from three matches, as Côte d'Ivoire and South Africa topped the group.

In 2008, Namibia also finished at the bottom of their group, which included Ghana, Guinea and Morocco.

Namibia's only two Afcon points came via draws against Angola (1998) and Guinea (2008).

Cameroon are the defending champions after winning the 2017 final against Egypt 2-1, courtesy of goals from Nikolas Nkoulou and Vincent Aboukabar.

Only Congo (1968), South Africa (1996) and Zambia (2012) have been able to bring the trophy to southern Africa.

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa