'We are no longer a small country': Vries

10 Jun 2015 13:50pm
WINDHOEK, 10 JUN (NAMPA) - Brave Warriors goalkeeper Virgil Vries is confident the team will do well when they play against Niger on Sunday in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
The match is scheduled for 14 June at the country’s national stadium in Niger’s capital, Niamey, and not 13 June as announced earlier, as the latter day is inconvenient for the host nation.
Namibia's senior national football team is currently in Pretoria at a high performance-training centre preparing for the match. Speaking to Nampa on Wednesday, Vries said it is important for the team to start off its Afcon qualifiers on a good note.
“At the moment everything is going well in camp and the team spirit is very high after winning the Council of Southern Africa Football Association (Cosafa) Cup.
“We are no longer a small nation when it comes to football because whoever we play will now consider us as the Cosafa Cup winners and will come out shooting in all cylinders. That is why we have to be prepared for each and every game we play,” said Vries.
He added that it is a good thing the team hosted its training camp in Pretoria and not at home to avoid people from destructing the players’ attention.
“It was really nice to see the atmosphere at home when we arrived with the Cosafa Cup, but right now all our attention should be about playing Niger as the Cosafa Cup is something of the past. We are currently encouraging each other to focus more on playing well in Niger and keeping the Namibian flag flying high and supporters happy,” he stated.
He added that the team is currently not under any pressure and they will do what they know best when they step onto the field on Sunday.
“I feel so proud to be part of a team that is well motivated and looking forward to doing good. We are now mentally strong because as senior players in the team we are guiding the young players to stay level-headed and forget about the Cosafa Cup and focus on the Niger game,” he said.
The goalkeeper told this reporter that the team is not worried about the high temperature in Niger as that should be something to talk about after arriving home as a team that went on a mission and achieved it.
The team will travel to Niger on Thursday and return to Namibia on Tuesday to prepare for the African Nations Championship (Chan) game at home on 21 June, against Zambia.