Namibia coach Collin Benjamin admits it was “not written in the script” that his team would reach the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations but insists he is not surprised by their performance so far at the tournament in Ivory Coast.
“I’m the coach of the team, so I cannot be surprised. I know what they’re capable of,” Benjamin told reporters in the Ivorian city of Bouake, where the Brave Warriors face Angola in the first knockout round on Saturday.
“I train them, I know them, I bring all the strategy along with my technical team.
“Everything happening on that field is not a surprise — maybe for everybody else, but I am the orchestra with my team.”
A country of fewer than three million people ranked 27th in Africa, Namibia had never won a match in three previous appearances at the Afcon before stunning Tunisia in their opening game here.
Despite following that with a heavy 4-0 loss to neighbours South Africa, a goalless stalemate with Mali was enough for them to advance from Group E as one of the best third-placed teams.
“We’re in the last 16, some teams are at home, but Namibia is here. That was not written in the script,” added Benjamin before offering a nod to the 1980s’ television series “Knight Rider”.
“You know in a movie there’s always something written, like Michael Knight will not die, or Superman will not die, Batman will not die, but we are writing the script.”
Now, however, the former Hamburg player is hoping his team can keep their run going on to the last eight.
“You know how it is in performance sport, you set this target, and when you reach it, you’re like, ‘you know what? maybe I can go further’.
“The hunger is there for us to succeed. We want a little bit more, it’s not going to be easy but we want to take the chance.”
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