Namibia’s missed opportunities cost them dearly, as Bafana Bafana capitalised on the Brave Warriors’ misfortune to trounce their rivals by a convincing 4-0 at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium on Sunday.
The Brave Warriors’ loss downgraded the team to third place in Group E with three points, while South Africa moved to second place on three as Mali is top of the group on four points and Tunisia, bottom of the group with a mere one point.
Namibia’s Brave Warriors will have their decisive and very important last match of the group tomorrow against the physical Mali at 19h00
Speaking during the post-match press conference, Brave Warriors’ coach Collin Benjamin congratulated Bafana Bafana on their sweet victory but was quick to lament the decision taken to award the penalty to South Africa, who took an early lead with the penalty given.
“The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is the modern soccer but I think it was a bit unnecessary, it was not what has to happen and obviously that killed the game. To get a penalty like that in the 12th minute… I think after that we never really recovered.
“Our transitions were not so good, the second ball also, we could not manage that, we were always a foot or a step into the second balls, so the transitions were basically the ones that killed us after that.”
Benjamin admitted that the defeat to South Africa is definitely a learning lesson and that it came at the right time as Namibia has a game against Mali.
He said there is a lot to play for and the technical team’s dream to progress to the next round is still alive.
“I think obviously, your chest becomes bigger if you take the lead in the 12th minute. I think with them going into the lead like that, it obviously makes the players have confidence, that one step that you normally would not take you will now take two and to a certain extent, that also kind of lamed our guys, we could not quite recover, and then the next goal came 10 minutes later, so I think all in all, it was all goals conceded at the right time for South Africa,” said the coach.
“After the penalty, we had two or three chances that Peter Shalulile could make or even Absalom Iimbondi, so I am looking at it positively, we did create chances. After that penalty, there were two or three chances that Deon Hotto created from the left and to me, that shows character and it means the team is still alive.
“If you have a scoreline like that, obviously it looks bad, but if you see how the guys played, I think there is still hope and it’s not possible that the same guys that played three days ago and did a magnificent job, all of a sudden they are bad, definitely not and I think it’s just our job to get them in the right frame of mind and take on the next assignment,” said Benjamin.
“Of course, at this moment it is difficult, but the sun is going to come up whether we want it or not, so that is what we are looking at. It is football, because of emotions, it goes up and it goes down, and today was a day that it went down, but tomorrow, step up, we will be on the soccer field again and get ready for the next one.”
“I think, just like any normal game, it is our last game, it is a final and we are playing against a very good team but it has always been the case, we always come to these big games against an opponent that is deemed to be the favourite.”
Speaking to Desert Radio on the team’s shocking defeat, former Brave Warriors’ defender Robert Nauseb said it was a disappointing game as Namibia failed to effectively make use of the earlier opportunities created.
He said off the ball, marking and tracking base were not 100%.
“I am disappointed, but overall we tried but were not good enough.”
Nauseb said South Africa took their chances from the mistakes committed by Namibia and punished the Brave Warriors over and over.
“We cannot throw a spanner in the direction of Mali’s match. It is going to be a tough match for Namibia and the draw against Bafana Bafana has forced Namibia to look for a win or a draw in their last game.”
He said Namibia needs to beat Mali by three to four goals but that will be an impossible feat for the Brave Warriors to achieve.
“The Malians are a very physical side and they are good tactically and very disciplined. They will not give much away and will play a physical game against Namibia who have players small in stature.”
Namibia has the pace compared to the Malian players, who are big and very slow, and Nauseb is confident Namibia can get them on the counter-attack as the Malian side has a weakness in their speed.
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