18 May 2017

Namibia: Brave Warriors Gear Up for Cosafa Cup

The Brave Warriors have been drawn to play Lesotho in the quarterfinals of this year's Cosafa Castle Cup which takes place in South Africa's North West province from 25 June to 9 July.

As one of the seeded teams, Namibia were given a first round bye into the quarterfinals, where they will face Lesotho, who also received a first round bye.

The other quarterfinals will be contested by Zambia and Botswana, while South Africa will face the winner of Group A, and Swaziland the winner of Group B.

The two group winners will be determined on a round robin basis with Group A consisting of Angola, Mauritius, Malawi and east African guest nation, Tanzania, while Group B consists of Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Mozambique and Seychelles.

The winner of the Namibia v Lesotho match will play the winner between Zambia and Botswana, while the winner between South Africa and the Group A winner will face the winner between Swaziland and the Group B winner.

As in the past, the quarterfinal losers will contest the Plate competition.

According to the NFA's website, Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti was quite upbeat with the draw, saying they respected Lesotho, but were aiming to go all the way to win the title.

"I know Lesotho very well; they play positive football with a lot of energy. We will have to control those qualities which I think we are capable of doing," he said, adding that they aimed to win the trophy.

"We aim to win the trophy and in order to do so we will have to beat Lesotho to reach the semifinals, and ultimately the final. But we will take it one game at a time, because that's what its all about. You cant play the next game, before the one you have to play," he said.

According to Mannetti their opponents are not as important as their preparation for the match.

"It is not much about who we are drawn against, but rather our preparations and intensity. We have faith in our strengths and approach and we will have to perfect that and play our own way," he said.

Namibia have improved in recent years in the Cosafa Castle Cup competition and won the title for the first time two years ago at the same venue when they beat Mozambique 2-0 in the final.

Since then they have been seeded for the competition and last year also received a first round bye. They, however, lost their quarterfinal match against Botswana, who made it through to the final before losing to South Africa.

Lesotho had a great run last year when they won all their group matches to qualify for the quarterfinals.

They beat Malawi 1-0, Mauritius 3-0 and Angola 2-0 to top Group B and book a quarterfinal place against South Africa. In their quarterfinal encounter they did well to hold South Africa to a 1-1 draw at full time, but eventually lost the match 4-2 on penalties.

At the tournament draw on Tuesday, Cosafa president Phillip Chivangwa said the tournament played an important role in the southern African region.

"The Cosafa Castle Cup is our flagship tournament and an opportunity for thr Southern African region to come together in a celebration of excellence and our continued growth as a football region. The number of players who have emerged through the Cosafa Castle Cup over the past two decades highlights its importance, while it also provides many countries in our region with top-class competitive football at a time when their calendars have otherwise been empty," he said.

The main sponsor, Castle Lager, meanwhile reaffirmed its sponsorship o the tournament till 2020.

"Castle Lager is delighted to return as title sponsor of the Cosafa Castle Cup until 2020. This year in particular is quite special as it is the 20th edition of this illustrious tournament. We see this special tournament as being pivotal in the development and growth of football in the southern African region," Vaughan Croeser, the brand director of Castle Lager Africa said.

Castle Lager will host a number of activations around the tournament, including a five-a-side football tournament, while they have also brought on board several legends of the region to lend their support.

They include Dipsy Selolwane of Botswana, Rotson Kilambe of Zambia, Tinashe Nengomasha of Zimbabwe, Siza Dlamini of Swaziland, Lehlohonolo Seema of Lesotho, Brian Baloyi of South Africa, Tico Tico of Mozambique and Congo Hindjou of Namibia.


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