Namibia knocked out of African Nations Championship

27 Jan 2018 22:40pm
By Hesron Kapanga
CASABLANCA, 27 JAN (NAMPA) - Namibia's dream of reaching the semi-finals of the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament came to an end on Saturday when they lost 0-2 to host nation Morocco in Casablanca.
Namibia, who finished the group stages as runner-up after being level on seven points with Group B winners Zambia, met the host nation in their fourth match at the championship.
But their hopes of reaching the semi-finals were cut short as goals in each half of the match from Ayoub El Kaabi and Salaheddine Saidi of Morocco were enough for the host nation to proceed to the next round of the competition.
The Namibian team found it hard to find the back of the net as their only goal in the game, which came from an Absalom Iimbondi free kick and was headed in by Charles Hambira in the 69th minute, was disallowed by the referee for a foul on a Moroccan defender.
Addressing the media after the game, Namibia’s coach Ricardo Mannetti said the level of football by the Moroccan team and individual quality were key to the host nation winning the game.
“We did well under the circumstance of playing against a well-oiled machine today, but my boys came out to show they deserved to be here with their brilliant performance against the host team,” he said.
When asked about the decisions that went against his team, the coach said football is an emotional game and he refuses to blame the match officials for his team’s loss.
“The game just didn't go our way because our opponents were better than us. I am not going to blame the referee for the decisions he took because that's not me,” Mannetti said.
He stated that they needed individual brilliance in the team to come out, but their opponents were tactically better.
“I don't think there is a Namibian fan or player that should drop their heads because we lost. We qualified for this competition against the odds and that is something we should be happy about as a nation,” said Mannetti, who added that he is happy as his team did well in the competition.