No surrender, no retreat
Namibia will battle traditional African powerhouses Senegal, Togo and Congo in Group H of the Fifa 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
23 January 2020 | Sports
Samaria's men have a mammoth task ahead, facing nations ranked higher than them. The group also pits them against African player of the year Sadio Mane.
There's no doubt that the Brave Warriors head into the qualifiers as the ultimate underdogs of the group.
Samaria admitted that his team has a tall order ahead of them and they will therefore have to be on top of their game.
“These are countries with professional players who play in top professional leagues.
“We can however not surrender. These games can serve as a motivation for the players and coach to pull up their socks,” Samaria said.
Namibia is currently ranked 117th in the world and 29th in Africa, while Senegal boasts the number one spot in Africa and are 20th in the world.
Congo is ranked 20th in Africa and 89th in the world, while Togo is 126th in the world rankings and 34th on the continent.
As things stand, Namibia has an edge over Togo as far as the rankings are concerned.
Most of the Togolese's national team players are based in big European leagues, however, while only a handful of Namibian players ply their trade overseas.
The fact that Namibia's league has not been active for over a year could play a significant role in the country's qualification chances.
Samaria will need every player at his disposal to strengthen the depth of his squad.
The coach however feels the absence of the domestic league will not be an excuse, given that most of the players he will select play in other leagues outside Namibia.
“Yes, it is true that the domestic league has not been active but that's not a major issue because we qualified for Chan and the Africa Cup of Nations while in a similar situation.
“The only thing I must admit we have to be realistic about is the fact that we are now facing a different challenge with different quality.
“In respect to our opponents in this group, Namibia will not just give up,” Samaria assured.
A total of 40 teams (ranked one to 26 and 14 first-round winners) have been divided into 10 groups of four to play home and away round-robin matches. Only 10 teams (group winners) will advance to the third round of the qualifiers.
Each team will then be drawn against another and play a two-legged tie.
The five victorious teams from the third round will book their places at the 2020 World Cup in Qatar.
Jesse Jackson Kauraisa