“I AM over the moon.”
These were the words expressed by sport, youth and national service minister Agnes Tjongarero following, Namibia’s Brave Warriors qualification in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2023 knockout stage.
Namibia played to a goalless draw against Mali in their final Group E match in San Pedro, to book a place in the Group of 16, ending the group stages as one of the four best third.
The Brave Warriors will next take on neighbours Angola on Saturday at 19h00, in what is expected to be a battle of supremacy between the two nations.
Speaking to Desert Radio, a delighted Tjongarero said: “I cannot talk, I don’t have the words. I am over the moon and so excited and really do not have the proper fitting words to explain this historic achievement. “All I can say is congratulations to Namibia. We have made it and we are going to make it further on.
“As for the knockout stage, there are only two things needed to progress to the quarter and semi-final stages of the tournament, for Namibians to continue motivating and encouraging them,” said Tjongarero. Looking at the past history of the two nations, Angola and Namibia had their first international encounter in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) qualifiers in 1994, with Angola beating Namibia 2-0.
Their last encounter was in 2015 in an international friendly, in which Namibia lost by a solitary goal.
Both teams have played a total of 12 matches, with Namibia having lost six games and drawn an equal number of matches.
Tjongarero said: “Now it is the right moment that the Brave Warriors need our support and now we have to support them.”
Also talking to Desert Radio on the team’s progression to the knockout stage was the former International Federation of Football Association’s (Fifa) Normalisation Committee (NC) chairperson Bisey Uirab, who also congratulated the Brave Warriors for their grand achievement.
“It’s a very happy achievement for me and Namibia. I am extremely happy with what has been done by Collin Benjamin. Since he was appointed by the Fifa NC, there were doubts in the minds of some people about his appointment, but hopefully today the nation can testify that it was a good appointment.
“He is very cool and collected and has assembled a team of very talented young men of our country and their performance has been extremely great.”
“I have full confidence in our players. Young and upcoming footballers must take note of the Brave Warrior’s impeccable achievements and follow in their footsteps to one day don the national football jersey,” said Tjongarero.
Uirab said Namibia has made history by first winning the match against Tunisia and secondly qualifying for the knockout stage of the tournament. “We must all stand together behind the boys. It was a great performance against two of Africa’s best.”
Uirab added that he could not travel to Ivory Coast, but two of his former colleagues are there supporting the team.
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