31 May 2019 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 31 MAY (NAMPA) Brave Warriors head coach Ricardo Mannetti said a players ability alone will not get them into the final 23 squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament scheduled for Egypt later this month.
In a telephonic interview with Nampa on Friday, Mannetti said Namibian players need to be super fit as they will play the majority of the matches without the ball.
We are the underdogs and our opponents will definitely dominate us possession-wise, hence the need for the players to be well conditioned and super fit, he said, referring to his selection criteria for his final squad.
He said Wangu Gome has had a knee operation and is unavailable for selection until August. Hendrik Somaeb has had injuries over the past few years, but since his move to Lusaka Dynamos he has played in two matches, the first one he played seven minutes, while the next he only played 22 minutes and the last game, he couldnt make it to match day 18, he added.
Mannetti said his idea was to take Somaeb to Durban for the Council of Southern African Football Associations tournament currently taking place, or for the player to join the international players currently training at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria.
However, this could not happen as the player is barred from entering South Africa.
The other players competing for his position have impressed at Cosafa. Joslin Kamatuka and Isaskar Gurirab, the current Namibia Premier League top goal scorer, scored two goals, making it difficult for both Somaeb and Sadney Urikhob, he added.
The coach said the lack of time in preparations for Afcon made it difficult for him to assess these players, hence the decision to drop the two strikers.
Competition in attack is very huge. Ita (Itamunua Keimuine), Benson Shilongo and Peter Shalulile are also as competitive as the two Cosafa strikers, he added.
Mannetti also had praise for Black Africas midfield general, Wesley Katjiteo, who he said brought a new dimension to the team.
With regards to the overseas-based duo of Ryan Nyambe and Manfred Starke, Mannetti said the latter will join the squad by Monday next week, while Nyambe is still acclimatising but has shown great ability and strength.
Subsequent to the omission of Urikhob and Somaeb, Mannetti will now take a 28-man squad to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where the team will camp from Monday, before the coach announces his final 23-man squad for Afcon.
The tournament takes place from 21 June until 19 July 2019.
The current 28-member squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers - Ratanda Mbazuvara, Virgil Vries, Loydt Kazapua and Max Mbaeva
Defenders - Ryan Nyambe, Larry Horaeb, Chris Katjiukua, Tiberius Lombard, Denzil Haoseb, Ivan Kamberipa, Charles Hambira, Riaan Hanamub and Ananias Gebhardt
Midfielders - Absalom Iimbondi, Willy Stephanus, Petrus Shitembi, Ronald Ketjijere, Dynamo Fredericks, Marcel Papama, Wesley Katjiteo, Manfred Starke, Benyamen Nenkavu and Deon Hotto
Strikers - Itamunua Keimuine, Benson Shilongo, Peter Shalulile, Joslyn Kamatuka and Isaskar Gurirab