COSAFA: Brave Warriors exceeded my expectations: Mannetti

30 Jun 2016 16:50pm
By Maqonda Ndlovu
WINDHOEK, 30 JUN (NAMPA) - Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti says the national football team performed above his expectations during the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Castle Cup.
The tournament took place in Windhoek from 11 to 25 June.
The Brave Warriors finished the tournament by winning the Plate Final by one goal to nil against Zambia, in which captain Ronald ‘Stiga’ Ketjijere scored the solitary goal from the penalty spot in the first half.
Namibia lost in the quarterfinals against Botswana in a penalty shoot-out following a nil-nil draw in regulation time.
Speaking to Nampa on Wednesday before his departure to Botswana with the under-17 national team for the second leg of the U-17 Confederation of African Football Championship qualifiers, Mannetti said his team performed well despite the many challenges they faced.
“We had so many issues prior to the tournament which we had to overcome. We had a number of our senior players withdrawing for one reason or the other, and it distracted our preparations. These players were from key positions.
“With that said, the players presented themselves very well; they executed the tactics very well. Before the tournament we played Niger and we did well, then we played Botswana and we had a good match but lost on penalties, which was unfortunate,” Mannetti said.
He further went on to pay tribute to the 13 other teams who took part in the tournament, saying that teams like Lesotho and Swaziland have proven that there are no longer small teams in the region.
“We need to take this tournament serious as it helps us prepare for bigger tournaments such as the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and World Cup. Right now only one team has qualified for Afcon from Cosafa (Zimbabwe), and it’s not good for the region.”
In terms of the overall Cosafa experience, Mannetti gave the local organising committee the thumbs up, saying Namibia has proven its capability to host bigger and better tournaments.
“We have the capability. In 2014 we hosted the Women’s African Championships, this year we hosted Cosafa so why should we shy away from trying to host Afcon in the future?” Mannetti asked.
He also paid tribute to the fans for filling up Sam Nujoma Stadium. He said the players enjoyed playing in front of a full house and said the fans must continue to support the national team at all costs.
The presence of the Head of State, Dr Hage Geingob was also a boost, said Mannetti, a former national team player.