Warriors ’embrace’ Cosafa final lesson 

Pedro Bondo Francisco of Angola challenged by Baggio Tuli Ngenovali Nashixwa of Namibia during the 2024 Hollywoodbets Cosafa Mens Championship Final match between Angola and Namibia at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Gqeberha on the 07 July 2024. BackpagePix

Collin Benjamin and the government are proud of the Brave Warriors and believe Sunday’s 5-0 drubbing against Angola in the Cosafa Cup final was a necessary part of their rebuilding process.

The head coach acknowledged that 10-man Namibia were outmanoeuvred and outfought by the Palancas Negras in the tournament finale contested before a sparse crowd at the iconic Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha, South Africa.

The match mirrored the infamous 3-0 loss to the same opponent in the round of 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) earlier this year, as Angola again ruthlessly capitalised on an erratic and sloppy Namibian display to lift their fourth Cosafa Cup title.

Angola raced into a 2-0 half-time lead through goals from Pedro Bondo and Depu before the floodgates opened after the break.

Vidinho added a third after the restart and Ivan Kamberipa was sent off soon after to compound Namibia’s misery. Vindinho then scored his second, and Keliano put an exclamation mark on the emphatic victory for the Angolans.

In his post-match analysis, Benjamin chose to focus on the positives which he believes far outweigh winning the competition.

“I’m honestly so proud and full of admiration of these boys. The intensity and hunger they brought to this tournament was just commendable.

“They’ve got all these odds against them . . . adversity, disparities against them, but they came and they prevailed,” Benjamin told reporters afterwards.

He has led the Brave Warriors to two Cosafa Cup finals in three years to add to guiding the full squad on that historic Afcon run to the last 16.

“They are responsible for a nation, a Namibian nation coming together and saying we’re going to watch the Brave Warriors, bringing pride to them.

“People who normally don’t have anything to do with football come together because of these boys, so we have to commend them,” said Benjamin.

The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service also said the chastening final loss should not detract from the team’s overall performance at the tournament.

“Despite a challenging 5-0 defeat against Angola in Port Elizabeth, South Africa the Brave Warriors’ journey to the Cosafa 2024 Cup final stands as a testament to their resilience and skill,” the ministry posted on its Facebook page.

“Making it to the finals has not only demonstrated their potential, but also ignited a sense of unity and pride among Namibians. As they look forward to future competitions, the unwavering support of their fans remains crucial.”

Angolan coach Pedro Goncalves said Namibia were worthy final adversaries and they can take heart from having gotten that far.

“It’s absolutely unusual in a final for a score like that. Today, I feel like it was the day of Angola, everything happened so well. Namibia have a strong team.

“They worked hard to reach the final. I think it was the best two teams who reached the final. So, congratulations also to my colleague [Collin Benjamin]. He’s doing a great job,” Goncalves said of their rivals.


Benjamin, who used the competition to widen the Brave Warriors pool, says his relatively untested charges have made significant progress and have given him increased options for upcoming assignments.

Before Sunday’s match, Benjamin lamented the team’s critics for refusing to acknowledge the effort of the team in reaching the decider.

“I think when you’re on the receiving end, you always have something against it, but it’s the development of the game. The game is becoming so fast, it’s so intense, the margins are so small,” Benjamin said on what went wrong against Angola.

“We’re embracing it, we’re learning from it, and tomorrow those tables will turn for us.”

The Brave Warriors rebuild will continue in Benjamin’s third year at the helm without his trusted deputy Ronnie Kanalelo, who stepped down from his assistant role following the Cosafa Cup final.

Kanalelo posted a cryptic message on Facebook regarding his impeding exit prior to kick off.

He did not divulge the reasons for ending his association with the team.

“As I bow out for the last time with the Brave Warriors, I want to thank you for the support over the last two years. Your appreciation is well noticed, family and friends,” Kanalelo posted on his Facebook account.

“My friend, brother and trainer of the mannschaft (Collin Benjamin), it was really an honour to serve as your assistant, you called, and I had no other options, but I said yes, I will run the race with you,” Kanalelo said of his time alongside Benjamin.

Kanalelo previously quit the same position following the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where he was Ricardo Mannetti’s number two.

Benjamin roped him back in, and together they reached two Cosafa Cup finals and qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, where Namibia finally won a match at the continental finals and made it to the knockout phase for the first time.

“Keep up the good work, and don’t take the foot off of the peddle. I know you don’t agree with my decisions, but you know, after six months of consideration, I decided to pull the plug. All the best,” Kanalelo said.

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