Warriors itching for Angola showdown

Brave Warriors head coach Collin Benjamin expects today’s Cosafa Cup derby battle against Angola’s Palancas Negras to be a taxing affair.

Benjamin is upbeat about his side’s chances as they kick-start their 2024 Cosafa Cup campaign at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha, South Africa.

“We are aware of the challenge. Angola is a good team, physically and tactically, but looking at the players we have and the work that we have done over the last couple of days, I believe we stand a good chance of doing well – even though it’s not going to be easy,” he says.

“We need maximum concentration, and it is important for us as a team that each one is aware of their duties and tasks, because we function best as a unit. We are fit, we are focused, and we want to have a good start to the match, so we build confidence early on,” he says.

Veteran defender Charles Hambira, who will captain the side at the tournament, says they are up for the battle and turning the tables on Angola, who beat them 3-0 at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

“I will lead the team, and the boys know how to do it. They know how the coach wants them to play, so there is not much for me to tell them. We are good to go,” he says.

“To the Namibians out there, just get behind the team. We will do good so we get the three points today. They must support the team in every game until the final.”

Preparations have been intense and fun with the emphasis on building a strong team ethic, says rookie goalkeeper Branco Rukoro.

“I’m expecting the team to show up, to win, to show passion and commitment, and to compete. That is what we’ve been training for these past two weeks in Namibia before we came to SA,” he says.

“Everybody is competing, they want a place on the team. That is what we want as a team – to go forward and compete in quality training as always. I’m really looking forward to this game, because the boys really want it,” Rukoro says.

“We really want to win this game. You can see the way they are playing . . .”

Follow the action live on Fifa PLUS TV, DStv and NBC 2 from 18h00.

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