13 Nov 2015 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 13 NOV (NAMPA) Namibian football supporters have short memories, senior national football coach Ricardo Mannetti says.
His comments were directed at a section of supporters who shouted for the substitution of Willy Stephanus and Benson Shilongo and booed when they were finally replaced in the match against Guinea at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Namibia lost the match 0-1 in the second round of the 2018 International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) World Cup qualifiers. About 4 000 people attended the match and roughly half of them heckled the two players.
Mannetti said Namibian football supporters are unappreciative of the teams efforts and achievements.
Speaking to the media after the game he expressed disappointment with the supporters for not backing the team when they are not doing well on the field.
In our previous game we had the likes of Willy Stephanus, who they booed today, score goals. He scored against Zambia and Gambia at the same stadium and we all celebrated.
Now, how do you start booing the same player when he fails to score a goal in one game; what type of support is this that we are trying to show to our player? The same player who performed well in the past cannot be discredited because he is having an off day. I believe in my team and all the players, and I call on the nation to be behind them every time they step onto the field wearing their national colours, said Mannetti.
He, however, expressed disappointment in the way the team performed on the day.
Today we gave away the ball cheaply. I know we dominated play in the first half, and in the second half we played most of the game in the opponents' half but we could just not score and that is really disappointing if you are playing at home.
I just want to tell the nation that these same players can still do us proud in Morocco, because the football we displayed here can still be repeated in Morocco which will be on neutral ground, he stated.
Mannetti described Guinea as a quality team which is not easy to play against, and promised that his team will bounce back in Morocco on Sunday during the second leg of the two-part second-round qualifiers.
Morocco is currently used by Guinea as their home ground due to the Ebola outbreak in their country.
Guinea coach Luis Fernández empathised with the Namibian team, saying: I really feel sorry for the home team to lose this game after dominating possession throughout the game. But that is the name of the game and we should now focus on going through to the next round when we go to Morocco.
He was, however, happy his team collected the three points going into the second round but he still expects Namibia to give his side a run for their money.
This is the first time most of our players played on artificial turf and they found it very hard and difficult to play their game as planned. Going into our second game, it is still going to be harder since we are not playing at home.