Mannetti says Namibia ready for Zambia without key players

28 Feb 2019 18:20pm
REHOBOTH, 28 FEB (NAMPA) – The Brave Warriors will be without Larry Horaeb and Chris Katjiukua for the crunch game against Zambia next month in the final 2019 Group K Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.
This is a vital game for Namibia in which they could qualify for their third Nations Cup appearance.
A statement availed to Nampa on Thursday said national team coach Ricardo Mannetti, who is preparing his charges for the 23 March clash in Lusaka against the Chipolopolo, will be without the experienced duo of Horaeb of Tura Magic and Katjiukua who plays for Highlands Park in South Africa.
“These two key players for us over the last few years will not be available as they have accumulated enough yellow cards to keep them out of the final group match in Zambia. It is a big blow but life goes on,” Mannetti said.
According to the statement, the coach is not worried about their absence as he has options.
“We have built this team for over five years and we have capable players who can fit in. Denzil (Haoseb) has proven his versatility to play in midfield and defence. We have Teberius Lombard who has also done well in that position and Charles Hambira has come of age and was tested at the African Nations Championship last year, while Emilio Martin is another option for us,” Mannetti stated.
He further said there is a lot of depth in the team when it comes to that position and added that they are working on their tactics to see which players will fit in before they make a final decision on call-ups.
“We want to qualify, we have to qualify and we will treat the game as any other, but with special attention as it will be the last game and we need to do well and reach the finals. We have come a long way and the only way to finish this off in style will be with qualification to the Afcon finals,” Mannetti said.
Namibia can qualify for the 2019 Afcon finals if they avoid defeat to Zambia; lose to Zambia and Mozambique lose to Guinea Bissau; or lose to Zambia and Mozambique draw against Bissau (Namibia have better head to head against Mozambique).
Guinea Bissau and Namibia are top of Group K on eight points each, with Mozambique in third place on seven points. Zambia are on four points and out of the race to Egypt 2019.
The group winner and the runner-up will qualify for the 32nd edition of the Total Afcon to be played in Egypt from 21 June to 19 July 2019.