We are not travelling to Mali to lose – Namibia coach

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Brave Warriors of Namibia head coach Bobby Samaria has expressed satisfaction with the fitness levels of his troops as they prepare to tackle Mali in back to back Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers with the first encounter taking place on Friday evening.

The return match will be staged four days later in Windhoek and there is a lot at stake over the two matches for both sides in Group A. Only one point separates the two nations.

The Namibian squad flew out to the Malian capital Bamako on Tuesday morning and arrived eight hours later. Coach Samaria said he was happy with the fitness assessments that the players underwent before travelling to Mali.

“Most of the players have reported for camp and we are only waiting for three more players who will arrive later during the course of the day, namely Ryan Nyambe, Teberius Lombard and Deon Hotto,” said Samaria.

“Today [Tuesday] we had our morning session where we tried to incorporate the professionals who have already reported for camp. Our training here is high so we did the tests to see at which level they are and I’m happy to report that most of them are beyond the targets that we set, so fitness wise the team will be okay,” he added.

Samaria, who is happy with the commitment showed by his charges went on to state that they are looking at getting a good result in Bamako.

“The away leg is very important for us and we are travelling to Bamako not to lose. If we can manage that objective successfully then the return leg will become much more relevant. Remember there is only a point difference between us and them so this two-legged game is crucial towards our ambition to qualify,” explained Samaria.

“I know Mali are very strong in the set pieces so we need to look at players who are very aggressive, players who are strong jumpers and strong in one-on-one situations.

“So that we can ensure that we protect the ball. I know their danger man is the midfielder Aliou Dieng, who plays for Egyptian champions Al Ahly and they have a very strong player at right back, but I think the entire team is made up of professionals.

“But whether they are playing in France, Turkey or Spain, wherever they are playing, it means nothing to us; all we’ve got to do is go and apply ourselves in the right manner,” concluded the Brave Warriors mentor.

Namibia Squad

Loydt Kazapua, Virgil Vries, Edward Maova, Ryan Nyambe, Ananias Gebhardt, Riaan Hanamub, Emilio Martin, Vitapi Ngaruka, Larry Horaeb, Denzil Haoseb

Peter Shalulile, Deon Hotto, Dynamo Fredericks, Teberius Lombard, Pertus Shitembi, Immanuel Heita, Obrey Amseb, Absalom Iimbondi

Marcel Papama, Alfeus Handura, Elmo Kambindu, Hendrik Somaeb, Panduleni Nekundi, Salomon Omseb and Benson Shilongo.

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By FARPost Reporter 

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