25 March 2019

Africa: Afcon - Zambia Wins but Namibia Qualified

Ricardo Mannetti said Namibia will be the best underdogs at Total Africa Cup Of Nations Egypt 2019, after finishing second in Group K despite losing 4-1 away to Zambia on Saturday night at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.

The defeat still saw Namibia qualify in second place on 8 points, tied with Mozambique whom they beat to second place on head-to-head following home and a wins over the Mamba who have to settle for third place.

"We will be the best underdogs at the AFCON. We are not saying that we are going there to beat any big team we will face in our group but we will take it one game at a time. But one should remember that even a small dogs have teeth," Mannetti said.

Mannetti however, admitted Namibia had a challenge playing a three-team dead-heat with Mozambique and Guinea Bissau that was being run 1000 miles apart in Lusaka and in Bissau.

"It was not easy to play with one foot on the pitch for the players here in Lusaka with another with an ear away in the Guinea Bissau-Mozambique game and we got punished for not concentrating by Zambia," Mannetti said.

Namibia returns to the AFCON for the first time since 2008 in what was their second appearance after making their debut in 1998.

It was an emotional icing on the cake for Mannetti after over half a decade reigns as Brave Warriors coach who led Namibia to their debut COSAFA Cup win in 2015 and debut Total CHAN qualification in 2018 where they reached the quarterfinals.

Augustine Mulenga brace in the 12th and 82nd minute and a goal each from Donashano Malama and Lazarus Kambole in 55th and 90th minutes respectively, handed Zambia their formality win that still saw them finish bottom of Group K with 7 points.

Peter Shalulile scored Namibia's lone goal in the 89th minute after he had hit the right angle of the beam in the 77th minute and also had a goal disallowed in the 57th minute.

Deon Otto too was denied by the woodwork in the 27th minute in a game where focused Zambia ensured they ended their failed Group K qualifiers in dignity.

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