Sport, youth and national service minister Agnes Tjongarero has expressed confidence in the upcoming performance of the Brave Warriors, as the Namibian national soccer team gears up for a make or break encounter with giants Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament on Wednesday.
Speaking to Desert Radio on Wednesday, Tjongarero encouraged the country’s football loving community to put Sunday’s merciless beating by South Africa behind them and to rally behind the team.
“I know that everyone was down after that 4-0 loss to South Africa, but as we all know, even the defending champions got a 4-0 beating, so it is nothing out of the ordinary,” Tjongarero said.
She called on the players to “remain focussed and with full concentration”.
Tjongarero said she is yet to speak to Brave Warriors coach Collin Benjamin, adding that she prefers to reach out to the coach after games so as not to derail the plans of the national team gaffer.
“I am confident that our boys will give us what we need and it is at least a draw,” she said.
Meanwhile, the City of Windhoek has once again called on Brave Warriors supporters to get together for the Afcon match between Namibia and Mali on Wednesday.
“Come to the City of Windhoek Parking on Independence Avenue and enjoy the game on the big screen in the open air. The DJ will get you in the mood with the hottest music from 17h00 while waiting for the game to kick off at 19h00,” the city’s communications department said.
Communications manager Harold Akwenye said the atmosphere at the City’s offices is upbeat and expectant of a good showing by the national team.
“I spoke to Collin [Benjamin] yesterday. They are looking forward to the game in order to redeem themselves. I am looking at a one all draw and that will take us through to the next round,” Akwenye said.
“We are setting up the benches but also urging the public to bring along their camping chairs and snacks. Come watch the game with us and rally behind the boys. It is a humdinger and we only need to draw in order to go through,” he said.
A fan and IT specialist from Windhoek, Nathan Shomeya, told Desert Radio the Warriors’ defeat at the hands of South Africa was very humbling.
“We went in with high expectations based on how we performed against Tunisia. The defeat made us grounded and from here we can at least get a draw against Mali and progress to the round of 16,” Shomeya said.
Musician Allen Jonathan, aka Swartbaster, weighed in on the matter, suggesting that what happened [to the Namibians] in the match against South Africa was not the end of the world.
“I believe that more magic [from the side of Namibia] is coming. I am predicting that South Africa will lose against Tunisia and Namibia will progress to the knockout stages,” Swartbaster said.
Former Brave Warriors midfielder Congo Hindjou echoed the minister’s sentiments and expressed confidence in the team’s “capacity to achieve the seemingly impossible and secure a well-deserved spot in the last 16”.
“Remember, we require no favours from any team or nation during this tournament, our fate rests firmly in our hands,” Hindjou said.
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