Rankings don’t matter - Samaria

The Brave Warriors will face Eritrea tonight at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, in the second leg of a preliminary World Cup qualifier.

10 September 2019 | Sports

Limba Mupetami

Namibia will play the second leg of a preliminary 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against the Red Sea Camels of Eritrea tonight at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek.

The match kicks off at 19:00.

In the first leg last week, Namibia beat Eritrea 2-1, but it was a match filled with many missed chances, something interim coach Bobby Samaria has been working on with the players.

Namibia are the better side on paper, as they are currently ranked 30th in Africa and 121st in the world, while Eritrea are the lowest ranked African nation, at 54th, and are ranked 202nd in the world.

Samaria, however, believes that rankings don’t matter, as Eritrea boasts seven Swedish-based players and can cause an upset if the Warriors are not vigilant and brutal on attack.

“We did not know them well, but we did well. They are now an open book and surely our planning will be different. They had about seven European-based players, and I understand they will add four more, so it will not be an easy game at all,” Samaria said.

“It means they still believe and that means we have to work very hard to get over the line.”

Samaria said home support will be key on the night.

“The stadium was packed over there. If we can get that, and more support, the boys can flourish. We have worked on our finishing and it all depends on our form on the day. Rankings don’t matter and after the first leg results across Africa, that is very clear,” Samaria said.

Of the 28 lower-ranked African nations involved in the preliminary qualifiers, 14 countries are set to join the top 26 African nations in the main qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup next year.

These 40 nations will be divided into ten groups of four each, who will face each other on a round-robin basis.

The ten group winners will then be involved in five two-leg playoff matches, with the five winners qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

The Brave Warriors will be captained by Peter Shalulile, scored the first goal last week in Asmara. He was also involved in the second goal, which came as a result of an own-goal by Eritrea.

“It was very surprising for me to be given the armband. I never thought I would lead the team in this way, but I am equally glad I did. The players were very cooperative and now that we are playing at home, I have to keep doing what I can do to score and create for others to score. It comes with more responsibility, but for my national team, I can do this anytime,” Shalulile said.

Eritrean captain Henok Goitom scored their only goal last week.

Tickets for the match are selling for N$30 in advance at Football House in Katutura and at all Computicket outlets countrywide. Tickets cost N$50 at the gate.

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