Benjamin refreshes Warriors ranks 

Muzeu Muzeu in action against Tunisia. File photo

Brave Warriors coach Collin Benjamin has called up an initial 52 players, including several youngsters discovered at the recent Nedbank Namibian Newspaper Cup, with the Fifa World Cup qualifiers and Cosafa Cup in mind.

Namibia will face Liberia and Tunisia in back-to-back qualifying clashes on 5 and 11 June, while the Cosafa Cup tournament will kick off in mid-June.

The midfield-heavy ensemble notably sees the return of Wangu Gome (31) to the national fold for the first time in three years.

The combative midfield ace’s eye-catching displays for Ongos FC have not gone unnoticed by the selectors, who believe he can help the Warriors gain control in matches.

There is, however, no place for Namibia Premier Football League joint top scorer Rewaldo Prins of Khomas Nampol or African Stars’ flying winger, Ueeturu Kambato, whom the coach says lack the physical attributes required for the rigours of international football.

Instead, Benjamin is keen to have a closer look at raw gems he glimpsed during the newspaper cup at Gobabis, like goalkeeper Rupura Tjambeni, who was the keeper of the tournament, imposing defenders Marek Kapuro and Namayabona Matengu, and midfielders Mbamba Magameno, Zuze Mutafela, Maurizio January and Punaje Katjimune.

“It’s a mix, we’ve got some players who have been in the system for a while. We’ve got ones who are in the middle, a lot of potential, and then we’ve got a few players also from the newspaper cup.

“We spent the whole weekend there, and I think we have to reward these boys also.

“I’m actually really looking forward to them, because they’ve got good body, good structure and they seem very hungry. I love it when somebody’s hungry,” Benjamin says.

The June internationals are Namibia’s first since their historic run at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) second round in Ivory Coast.

The clash against Tunisia is arguably the standout assignment, given the Brave Warriors’ unexpected 1-0 triumph in their group clash at Afcon.

“I’m looking forward to these matches against Liberia and Tunisia. It’s not going to be easy – never easy for Namibia. What do you think Tunisia is going to come up with? We embarrassed them, the coach was fired and a new team was assembled,” Benjamin says.

“We need effort and attitude from our players, and I’m confident if we give them the chance, they’re going to come through,” he said.

The preliminary Brave Warriors squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Lloyd Kazapua, Edward Maova, Jonas Mateus, Ngatangue Ruhaka, Brango Rukoro, and Rupura Tjambeni.

Defenders: Ryan Nyambe, Ivan Kamberipa, Josef Bonifatius, Gerson Paulus, Charles Hambira, Tuli Nashixwa, Arend Abubakir, Erasmus Ikeinge, Ananias Gebhardt, Riaan Hanamub, Tonateni Haindongo, Edmund Kambanda, Rehabeam Mbango, Rouven Tjihumu, Marek Kapuro, and Namayabona Matengu.

Midfielders: Aprocius Petrus, Moses Shidolo, Tjipee Karuoombe, Pandeni Kandjabanga, Stanley Ndjavera, Romeo Kansume, Paulus Amutenya, Ndjiraera Maharero, Razikua Mujoro, Lawrence Doeseb, Stanley Scheepers, Simon Elago, Sam Ndahangwapo, Erastus Kulula, Wangu Gome, Edmar Kamatuka, Ben Namib, Giovane Engelbrecht, Deon Hotto, Tjimbauja Kapuuo, Farres Haidula, Mbamba Magameno, Zuze Mutafela, Maurizio January, and Punaje Katjimune.

Forwards: Peter Shalulile, Bethuel Muzeu, George Marcelino, Gonzales Suseb and Kleophas Useb.

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