Namibia feel SA are there for the taking

Namibia midfielder Deon Hotto, left, is marked byMorocco's Nabil Dirar during their game on Sunday.
Namibia midfielder Deon Hotto, left, is marked byMorocco's Nabil Dirar during their game on Sunday.
Image: JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

Namibia coach Ricardo Mannetti has made it an open secret that he views Bafana Bafana as the team to beat for the Brave Warriors if they are to achieve their target of a first Africa Cup of Nations win, and possibly even a first progression past the group stage.

Mannetti, the 44-year-old former Cape Town Santos forward, attempted to play his cards close to his chest on whether his team will be more attacking against South Africa in their second match, following a brave 1-0 opening Group D defeat against Morocco at Cairo's Al Salam Stadium on Sunday.

In all honesty, though, he failed to.

And Bafana's opening 1-0 loss in similar hot conditions in their 4.30pm kick-off against Ivory Coast would surely have reinforced Mannetti's belief that, while his team remains the clear group underdogs, South Africa are the third-strongest on paper, and the team who the Warriors need to gun for on Friday night, also at Al Salam Stadium (kick-off 10pm).

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Part of that was revealed in the manner in which Mannetti answered a question criticising his team's ultra-defensive tactics against Morocco, where they barely bothered to even attempt to counter-attack.

"Normally as a coach you look at what you have. And for us coaches it's also about being almost like a chess game," Mannetti said.

"And I've seen throughout the world people have a problem with defensive football. But you need to ask yourself as a journalist, as a reporter, first and foremost: why is that specific team playing defensively; why are they not opening up?"

Expect Namibia's Bidvest Wits right-winger Deon Hotto and Highlands Park deep striker Peter Shalulile to have some fun running at their Premier Soccer League foes and teammates on Friday night.

Fixtures

Today: Nigeria v Guinea (4.30pm); Uganda v Zimbabwe (7pm); Egypt v DR Congo (10pm)

Tomorrow: Madagascar v Burundi (4.30pm); Senegal v Algeria (7pm); Kenya v Tanzania (10pm).

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