ItÂ’s Da Costa time to roll

24 Jun 2013 03:27

This must Da Costa Angula’s season when everything seems to be going his way - he has just been appointed the Brave Warriors’ captain for the Cosafa tournament while Mamelodi Sundowns are itching for his signature.
Last week, the Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti announced that Da Costa will lead the team when it competes in the Cosafa tournament in Zambia early next month.
Da Costa is a central defender for MTC Premiership champions Black Africa and has been part of the Brave Warriors set-up for the past two years.
He has mostly served on an ad-hoc basis as a vice captain to South African-based midfielder, Ronald Katjijere, who turns out for the University of Pretoria side in the South African premiership league.
Da Costa is currently the most senior player among the locally-based assembled squad for the Zambian regional competition.
Mannetti also named 25 players who will go into training camp ahead of the Cosafa matches.
Speaking to The Villager after his appointment, Mannetti says his dream is to win the Cosafa Cup as it has evaded the national side for years despite making it into the last stages of the tournament on two occasions.
ìIt will be very nice if I win the tournament (Cosafa) but those ambitions are always there, “ he says. Namibia was close to winning the tournament in 1997 (against Zambia) and again in 1999 (against Angola) but never got to taste glory.
Mannetti took over from Roger Palmgren after acting in the capacity during the Nigeria game on the 12 June.
“I have faith in the current crop of players who have done the nation proud especially after holding the African Champions Nigeria to a 1-1 all draw,” he says.
But the coach is predicament is that several players are still nursing injuries ahead of the encounters in Zambia. Mannetti, however, believes there is a bigger pool of players to choose from and that the side will manage.
South African-based players such as captain Katjijere, Henrico Botes, Heinrich Isaacks and Rudolf Bester will all be fighting for their places in the future as there is a new breed of players that entered the fray in recent months.
ìItís not easy to handle the Brave Warriors job and football in Africa has become very tough and I am just sailing. Right now, it is time for us to smile because this is not club football but a national team,î said Mannetti.
The Brave Warriorsí first game will be against Mauritius on 6 July.
Free-spending South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns have set their sights on Brave Warriors skipper Da Costa Angula.
Sundowns chief scout Walter Steenbok was in Windhoek a fortnight ago to watch Angula in the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Nigeria at Sam Nujoma stadium.
But alas, the defensive bedrock sustained an injury and was left out of that match.
Said Steenbok, “We have been following Da Costa for some time now and I am disappointed that he got injured and could not play against Nigeria. If all had gone according to plan, he would have even joined us before the pre-season tour of Ghana. Now we have to wait until September when Namibia plays Kenya to see if this is the same boy we really want.”
Mamelodi Sundowns nicknamed the ‘Brazilians’ have been making some high profile signings lately in their bid to recover from last season’s disappointing campaign which saw them finish outside the top eight.
They just signed Zambian goalie Kennedy Mweene, Zimbabwean hitman Cuthbert Malajila among a strong list of foreign players on their books.
“We need to search for players that are more dedicated and willing to put every effort for the team. Last season, we had many players in our squad but we really need to sit down and evaluate if what we are paying is really worth what we are getting in return,” said coach Pitso Mosimane.
‘The Brazilians’ have confirmed they will travel to Nairobi on 7 September when Namibia clashes with Kenya.
In the South African premiership, only five non-South African nationals can be registered at one club but players with foreign and South African citizenship do not count as foreigners.
Added Steenbok,”Money is not a problem at Sundowns. We do not need a player that we will pay low. In this case, we need a Namibian because this country is like a province of ours in football.
“Namibian players are not considered foreigners and the president (Patrice Motsepe) has been pushing us to get a local (Namibian) player at all costs for a long time now. It’s now up to Da Costa to prove that he is the one.”
The hard marking 26-year old centre-back has matured steadily over the years since joining Black Africa in 2006.