We are taking it one game at a time: Malembu

18 Jul 2018 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 18 JUL (NAMPA) – Namibia under-17 (U-17) national football team coach, Paul ‘Shakes’ Malembu said his squad will take it one game at a time at the U-17 Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Championships which will begin in Mauritius on Thursday.
Namibia, who are in Group A alongside Botswana and host Mauritius, will play their opening match against Seychelles on Thursday at the competition set to run between 19 and 29 July 2018.
Speaking to Nampa via WhatsApp on Wednesday, Malembu said the team has settled in Mauritius and are adapting well to their new environment.
“The team spirit is high and the boys are so excited to play their first international game despite our main challenge being lack of experience at international level,” he said.
The coach added that it would have been better for the young players if they participated in the 2017 Cosafa competition after winning the 2016 edition, but due to financial constraints they were unable to defend their title.
Malembu also said the 2016 champions, more affectionately known as the Baby Warriors, will take it one game at a time and are currently not preoccupied with thoughts of winning the competition.
“We are more interested in getting out of group stage first. There are no minnows in football, but at the moment we are underdogs and we are not the powerhouse in Cosafa,” he said.
He added that the team is not under any pressure despite the competition this year being more intense than before, as it also serves as a qualifier for the 2019 U-17 African Nations Cup (Youth Championships) that will be held in Tanzania.
“All the teams are here with their best players. Winning the competition is not our ultimate goal; we want to give a chance to the youngsters to get a taste and exposure for international football,” said Malembu.