Brave Warriors and Swaziland play to a draw

11 Sep 2014 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 11 SEP (NAMPA) – Namibia and Swaziland drew one-all in an international friendly match at the Sam Nujoma stadium on Wednesday evening.
The match was part of senior national coach Ricardo Mannetti’s plans to rebuild the football team after a dismal 2015 African Cup of Nations’ (AFCON) qualifying campaign.
The match was also used as preparation for the Under-23 (U-23) national side, ahead of its 2015 All-Africa Games and 2016 Olympic Games’ qualifiers on dates yet to be announced.
Namibia's Brave Warriors put on an impressive performance in the first half, with Wangu Gomes dominating the midfield and Deon Hotto and Lazarus Kaimbi coming close to scoring, but being stopped by the woodwork.
Swaziland’s Felix Badenhorst also came close to opening the scoring for the visitors before the half-time break, but his long-range effort metres away from the centre-spot was denied by the top-end corner of the post, although it left Namibian goalkeeper Maximilian Mbaeva in no man’s land.
The first half ended nil-nil.
Left-winger Hotto opened the score-board in the 48th minute after powering in a rebound from Willem Mwedihanga’s first attempt on goal.
But the visitors managed to keep the Warriors at bay as Swaziland’s experienced campaigners, such as captain Tony Tsabedze and the impressive Badenhorst kept their team moving forward.
Midway into the second half, the Brave Warriors’ Kaimbi was sent off for a second yellow card after referee Andreas Helmut adjudged him to have dived in the box as he was challenged by a Swazi defender.
Mannetti rang another change after bringing in Rudolf Bester for Itamunua Keimuine at half-time, and Marius Kotze for the injured Gomes in midfield.
Kaimbi’s red card seemed to have affected the Warriors, and they retreated, which allowed Swaziland to drive forward for an equaliser in the 80th minute through the lively Badenhorst.
Mannetti told the media after the game that he was pleased with his players’ performance, and that the future looked bright for Namibian football.
“The game was very tense for these young players from the U-23 side, but I am happy they gave a good account of themselves,” he noted.
He added that Kaimbi getting a red card stopped him from using more players from the U-23 side.
The coach was also happy with Namibian veteran striker Henrico Botes’ performance on the night.
“We conceded a soft goal tonight, but I should say the players showed they wanted to win. Henrico performed very well, he showed me he still wants to be part of the national team’s plans, and Wangu tonight showed he has a big heart, but unfortunately we had to replace him after he picked up a hamstring injury,” continued Mannetti.
Credit, he said, should also be given to Swaziland for giving his team “a run for their money”.