Idle ‘Brave Warriors’ confident of Chan spot
No domestic football because of feuding but Namibians target place in Championship for first time, writes
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.