Young Warriors off to Cosafa Cup 

Ivan Kamberipa of Namibia in action against Liberia. File photo

A young and inexperienced Brave Warriors squad left for Gqeberha yesterday for this year’s Cosafa Cup tournament which kicked off yesterday. 

The opening matches in the tournament saw Botswana taking on Eswatini and the hosts South Africa taking on Mozambique in Group A encounters yesterday, but Namibia’s campaign only gets underway on Friday when they take on Angola in Group C, while their other pool matches are against Lesotho on 1 July and Seychelles on 3 July. 

The Namibia Football Association yesterday released Namibia’s 23-man squad for the tournament, which is largely inexperienced and young. Most of the players are 25 or younger, while only three players are over 30. 

Desert Rollers goalkeeper Branco Rukoro is the youngest at 19 years of age, while African Stars defender Charles Hambira is the oldest at 34.

In terms of national caps, Hambira and Cape Town City midfielder Aprocius Petrus are the most experienced, with 35 caps each, but most are inexperienced with five uncapped players, and 13 players who have less than 10 caps.

Basically just Hambira, Petrus, defender Ivan Kamberipa (33 caps) and striker Betuel Muzeu (16 caps) are the remaining experienced players in the squad, as Benjamin continues to rebuild the squad for the future.

Benjamin yesterday said his main aim was to buildexperienceand prepare prepare the squad for more important events in the future.

“Our preparation has been good and I think those games against Liberia and Tunisia was essential for the boys to get good practise and experience because we are actually in a rebuilding phase. I want to give these youngsters a platform and an opportunity to play and it’s basically about them proving themselves, because we are also preparing for the Afcon qualifiers that will start in September – the draw will be made on the 4th of July, so those are our targets,” he said. 

“These boys need more game time and that’s what we are going to allow them to have at this Cosafa Cup, but at the same time we want to do well because we want to be successful. We want to get to a place where we can say the boys have 10 international games under their belt and then we can start expecting results from them,” he added.

Benjamin said they are optimistic of doing well. 

“We are basically throwing them in at the deep end and they have to swim, but we are very optimistic, we are working hard, we are in the right frame of mind, and we are looking forward to these matches. The Cosafa Cup is also a good platform for our players to showcase their talent for possible transfers to professional leagues so that’s what we are looking at,” he said.  

Regarding their opponents, Benjamin said that Angola would pose the toughest obstacle.

“Angola are the strongest team in our group, they are a very technical and tactical team. Lesotho are also a technical team and Seychelles also have a good side so it won’t be easy,” he said. 

The Namibian squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Kamaijanda Ndisiro, Mutjinde Branco, Jonas Matheus. 

Defenders: Ivan Kamberipa, Charles Hambira, Erasmus Ikenge, Edmund Kambanda, Tuli Nashixwa, Arend Abubakir.

Midfielders: Aprocius Petrus, Moses Shidolo, Tjipe Karuuombe, Romeo Kasume, Paulus Amutenya, Ndjiraeree Maharero, Simon Elago, Lawrence Doeseb, Erastus Kulula, Edmar Kamatuka, Ben Namib, Fares Haidula.

Forwards: Dawid Ndeunyema, Betuel Muzeu. 

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