ZIFA technical director Wilson Mutekede has chosen to remain "positive in disappointment" as he leads the Warriors in their second friendly match against Namibia in the Dr Hage Geingob Cup tomorrow. The Warriors, who lost 0-1 to Lesotho in their first friendly match on Wednesday, arrived back home last night and look to regroup ahead of the trip to Namibia later today.
Mutekede, who is the caretaker coach and is being assisted by Lloyd Chitembwe, has sought to use the matches for the Warriors to stay in shape ahead of the resumption of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in March. The coaches are also taking advantage to integrate new and old players, including a set of British-based players, who are being introduced into the Warriors set-up.
ZIFA have managed to make a breakthrough with their foreign brigade after the quartet of Macauley Bonne, Tendayi Darikwa, Admiral Muskwe and Kundayi Benyu agreed to come for the two friendly matches. The team fell to an injury-time sucker punch from Lesotho's Hlompho Kalake.
"We had a great game but wasted a lot of chances. The young guys are good players. An excellent fusion of new blood in the current Warriors group. We played very well. The new guys were playing on an artificial surface for the first time but they gave it their all. The Lesotho goalie was in great form with other attempts cleared from the line. We only trained for 50 minutes and played a team that had camped for three weeks. A defensive lapse in the 94th minute cost us," said Mutekede.
The Warriors are expected to regroup for training at the Yadah Complex this morning as the technical team look to work on combinations ahead of the trip to Namibia for another friendly encounter, again to be played on an artificial turf. The Namibians are placing special emphasis on the match, which is held in honour of their President. Namibia coach Ricardo Manetti wants to use the match to fine-tune his squad ahead of his team's maiden participation at the CHAN finals in Morocco next February.
Namibia's President Hage Geingob yesterday implored the Brave Warriors to ensure that the 2017 Dr. Hage Geingob Cup remains at home. President Geingob have over the past three years handed over the trophy to South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns who have won it since 2014 before the tournament format, which used to feature invited clubs from the region, changed this year to pit the Warriors and The Brave Warriors.
"This year, the Cup is elevated to senior level football and I call on the team to do their best against Zimbabwe and make sure we keep the trophy at home, even more significant, at the Sam Nujoma Stadium," Geingob told the Namibia Football Association's website.
The match will be marked by festivities and a moment of silence will be observed in memory of the late Brave Warriors supporter Robbie Savage. The country's football legends are also set to present the President with a signed autographed jersey of the Brave Warriors bearing the late Savage's photo. Peter Shalulile, Ronald Ketjijere and Hendrick Somaeb will be key for the Brave Warriors as the teams meet for the third time in a space of five months.
They played against each other in the 2018 CHAN qualifiers which Namibia won 1-0 at home and lost 1-0 away at the National Sports Stadium. The Namibians, however, eventually won 4-5 on penalties albeit on controversial circumstances to advance at the expense of the local-based Warriors. Brave Warriors goalkeeper Edward Maova has been ruled out of the match due to injury while Panduleni Nekundi is also a doubtful starter.