Benjamin trims Brave Warriors

Denzil Haoseb in action during training. File photo

With the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast drawing ever closer, Brave Warriors head coach Collin Benjamin has a “pretty good picture” of what the final squad will look like.

His position is informed by the completion of an assessment training camp on Wednesday.

There were no surprises when Benjamin dropped seven players from his preliminary squad after getting a closer look at what they can offer.

The remaining home-based stars will link with the foreign legion for a camp in Ghana where they will play a series of warm-up matches against yet to be announced opponents.

Benjamin says the assessment camp was intense and satisfactory.

“We had given the players some homework to do. So, this assessment camp was basically to check how far they’ve come in the physical and conditioning part after the first half of the season concluded,” he says.

“There are also a few players we called up that we wanted to see closer. In the national set-up, there are certain aspects and dynamics that we expect from the team. To a certain extent, the level is always a bit higher, the guys are motivated and they know it’s about [fighting for] places and performance. So, it’s not really the way they would train at their clubs. It’s always a little bit more,” he says.

“I think we have a pretty good picture. We trimmed the squad down to 12 from the 19, who will now join the foreign-based [players] for our camp in Ghana where we will have 28 players. From that 28 we will then, in January, trim it down to the final 24,” says Benjamin.

Namibia kick off their fourth Afcon finals appearance with a clash against Tunisia on 16 January, followed by a mouthwatering derby showdown with “big brother” South Africa five days later. Mali are Namibia’s final group opponents on 24 January.

The top two teams in each group and the four best-ranked third-placed teams will advance to the last 16, with quarter-finals, semi-finals, a match for third place and the final to follow.

In Namibia’s penultimate Afcon squad are:

Goalkeepers: Lloydt Kazapua, Kamaijanda Ndisiro, Edward Maova;

Defenders: Ananias Gebhardt, Ryan Nyambe, Riaan Hanamub, Erasmus Ikeinge, Kennedy Amutenya, Denzil Haoseb, Charles Hambira, Aprocious Petrus, Ivan Kamberip, Lubeni Haukongo;

Midfielders: Ngero Katua, Romeo Kasume, Marcel Papama, Petrus Shitembi, Prins Tjiueza, Uetuuru Kambato;

Forwards: Wendell Rudath, Absalom Iimbondi, Erastus Kulula, Edmar Kamatuka, Peter Shalulile, Deon Hotto, Joslin Kamatuka, Bethuel Muzeu and Junior Petrus.

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