Warriors plot Malawi downfallBy: STAFF REPORTER
BRAVE Warriors captain Ronald Ketjijere said they will employ a high-tempo pressing game against Malawi during tomorrow’s 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier.
The former African Stars player has intimate knowledge of Malawi’s style of play, having faced them twice before.
According to Ketjijere, they plan to disrupt the visitors’ usual flowing, passing game at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium.
“We have been preparing very well for this game. We have the best team in the land at the moment. We have experienced players and young players and the spirit is good going into the game on Saturday and we are aware of the importance of the game. We have to win, it is as simple as that for us but it won’t be easy,” Ketjijere said.
“Malawi can play and we have to apply a pressing game on them and also make sure we take our chances. We do create a lot of chances but it is up to the players in good positions to make sure they take those chances to inspire us to victory,” he said.
“Most the guys in the team have been in top form for their clubs and it just a matter of bringing that to the national team and we get the good result.”
One such player is veteran striker Henrico Botes, who is enjoying the form of his life at Platinum Stars in South Africa.
Botes has confidence in his team mates’ ability to create the type of chances he thrives on.
“We have to fancy our chances playing at home and the importance of the game has been spelled out by the technical team all week and in the press and we are ready for the challenge,” he said.
Botes has scored in the Brave Warriors’ last two internationals and is keen to keep his streak going tomorrow.
“I scored against Rwanda and then Kenya and so I want to continue that. I have been in good form for my club and surely if given the chances to convert I can score. So we will work as a team and make sure we go top of the group by the end of the night on Saturday,” said Botes.
Meanwhile, Tura Magic defender Tiberius Lombard sat out yesterday’s morning training session due to a knock to his right knee, but is expected to be fit ahead of tomorrow’s 17h00 kick-off.
Tickets for the match are available from Computicket at Shoprite and Checkers countrywide and also at NFA Soccer House at N$40 each.
Midfielder Victor Wanyama says Kenya can stun Nigeria in Calabar this weekend.
The clash of the Super Eagles and the Harambee Stars appears a mismatch as the 2013 Cup of Nations champions are 33 places higher on the Caf rankings, enjoy home advantage and there is a three-point gap between the teams.
Nigeria beat Namibia at home and held Malawi away in Group F last June to collect four points while Kenya secured just one after a home draw against Malawi and a loss in Namibia.
But Wanyama, reportedly noticed by several leading English Premier League clubs after scoring against Barcelona to help Celtic reach the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League this season, is upbeat.
“The players are ready, there is a lot of mental strength among them and we are hopeful of a favourable result against Nigeria,” Wanyama, 21, told Kenyan reporters.
“Everything is possible in football and Kenya can win in Nigeria - it is time the Harambee Stars moved forward in international football,” added the national captain who made his international debut at 17 against Nigeria.
Burkina Faso host Niger in Ouagadougou while leaders Congo are at home to Gabon, who also had a point deducted for using an ineligible player, on an artificial pitch in Atlantic port Pointe Noire.
Mali, who exceeded expectations by coming third in South Africa, must do without injured goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa away to Rwanda in Group H and fourth-place Ghana face Sudan in a crucial Group D clash for both teams.
Sudan were the third country found guilty by Fifa of fielding an ineligible player with a 2-0 home win over Zambia changed to a 3-0 loss and they face a Black Stars side already three points behind the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets).
Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi says striker Drogba, who failed to sparkle at the Africa Cup, must regain match fitness and five other Ivorians who were in South Africa are also dropped for a Group C home fixture against minnows Gambia.
Inactive goalkeeper Egyptian Essam Al Hadary misses a Group G home game against Zimbabwe and South Africa must find new centre-backs to face Central African Republic in Cape Town with captain Bongani Khumalo axed and Siyabonga Sangweni injured.
– Additional reporting by Nampa-AFP