Idle ‘Brave War­riors’ con­fi­dent of Chan spot

No do­mes­tic foot­ball be­cause of feud­ing but Namib­ians tar­get place in Cham­pi­onship for first time, writes

African Independent - - SPORT -

RUSTY Namibia look set to de­feat Co­moros on Sun­day in Wind­hoek and reach the African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship fi­nals for the first time.

The “Brave War­riors” are in pole po­si­tion af­ter grab­bing a po­ten­tially cru­cial away goal in a 2-1 loss to the In­dian Ocean is­lan­ders in Moroni.

Namibia are close to reach­ing the 16-na­tion tour­na­ment in Kenya next Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary, de­spite a vir­tual shut­down of do­mes­tic foot­ball for more than a year.

Feud­ing be­tween foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion and league of­fi­cials has re­sulted in no league foot­ball, leav­ing na­tional squad play­ers starved of match prac­tice.

Chadouli Mrad­abi and Mo­hamed Yous­souf put the Co­morans in a strong first-leg po­si­tion by scor­ing late first-half goals in the third round tie.

But a foul on Dy­namo Fred­er­icks gave Namibia a penalty mid­way through the se­cond half, which Hen­drik So­maeb con­verted to halve the deficit.

Namibia could have snatched a draw as So­maeb rat­tled the wood­work in stop­page time af­ter Ben­jamin Nenkavu had ear­lier fluffed a close-range shot.

“I am con­fi­dent we are go­ing to be cel­e­brat­ing a sweet vic­tory in Wind­hoek this Sun­day,” said Namibia coach and for­mer na­tional team mid­fielder Richardo Man­netti.

“Namib­ians must not panic be­cause we lost the first leg. Co­moros had us on the back foot dur­ing the first half and de­served to be ahead by half-time.

“We changed our tac­tics for the se­cond half and it paid off. Sharper fin­ish­ing would have given us at least a draw.”

Namibia shocked Cosafa Cup cham­pi­ons Zim­babwe in the pre­vi­ous round with a con­tro­ver­sial penalty shootout vic­tory af­ter a 1-1 ag­gre­gate dead­lock.

The se­cond-leg ref­eree from Swazi­land has been banned for al­low­ing a spot-kick goal af­ter a Namib­ian feinted a shot be­fore strik­ing the ball.

This method of penalty tak­ing was re­cently out­lawed by world foot­ball body Fifa, but the match of­fi­cial ignored the change, in­fu­ri­at­ing Zim­bab­wean play­ers and coaches.

African foot­ball gi­ants Egypt, de­but­ing in a com­pe­ti­tion re­stricted to home-based stars, are un­likely to be in Kenya af­ter only draw­ing 1-1 at home against twice qual­i­fiers Morocco.

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