11 January 2013

Namibia/Zambia: Brave Warriors, Zambia Friendly Match Called Off

Current Brave Warriors interim coach, Bernard Kaanjuka yesterday brimmed with confidence as he insisted his team's morale is still high ahead of their friendly match against Morocco, after it was unceremoniously announced that Namibia's friendly game against reigning African champions Zambia has been called off.

The Brave Warriors were initially scheduled to play Zambia next Tuesday at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, South Africa, but will tomorrow instead be playing only one friendly match against this year's African Cup of Nations (AFCON) hopefuls Morocco, following the cancellation of the Zambian encounter.

"We were really looking forward to the Zambian encounter, but unfortunately things failed to materialise at the last minute but that has not affected our team spirit, because we still have the Morocco game in hand. These things happen in football and we unfortunately have no control over the matter, but we still have a very important match against Morocco and it will also be a good test for our squad," said Kaanjuka.

However, according to the Namibia Football Association (NFA) President John Muinjo, following lengthy consultations with Zambian Football Federation (ZFF) President Kalusha Bwalya, a resolution could not be reached since Kalusha indicated that the Chipolopolo had a hectic schedule and could therefore not go ahead with the Namibian encounter.

"They (Zambia) are citing a strenuous schedule as the reason for the cancellation of the 15 January 2013 friendly match, which was slatted for Nelspruit, since their coach wants the final week before the Nations Cup to be used as a winding down period for his team," Muinjo explained.

In addition, Muinjo said he has for the last couple of days been trying to secure a friendly match against northern neighbours Angola who are also participants at the 2013 AFCON, which kicks off on January 19, but they too were reluctant.

The FA president also added that it was understandable for teams not to entertain too many friendlies ahead of such a big competition and added "normally teams would want to keep their spirits high ahead of a big tournament like the AFCON, that's why they refuse as they fear to lose games and get their players injured, since that could dampen spirits ahead of the original kick-off, so we fully understand Angola and Zambia's sentiments," concluded Muinjo.

The Warriors will be flying out to Johannesburg today to face Morocco tomorrow in an international friendly match at the Rand Stadium.

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