THE Brave Warriors' chances of qualifying for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations took a knock with a 2-0 defeat at Guinea on Sunday, although there is still a long way to go in the race.
Before the weekend's matches Namibia were leading the log after last Wednesday's 2-1 home victory against Chad, but their defeat in Conakry now leaves them in third position in Group A on three points.
With Mali beating Chad 2-0 away in Ndjamena on the same day, they now join Guinea at the top of the log on four points each, while Chad are bottom with no points.
With only a third of the group stages completed, Namibia is still well placed to finish among the top two teams that will qualify for the Afcon finals, but their limitations were clearly exposed against a slick Guinean team on Sunday.
With Guinea's Liverpool star Naby Keita in great form, they went on the offensive from the start, with Issiaga Sylla having a shot blocked by Ryan Nyambe, while a cracking shot by Keita was well saved by a diving Lloydt Kazapua.
Jose Kante was a constant danger, hitting the post after a quick free kick, while Kazapua made a point blank save after Kante had broken free in the box.
Guinea's pressure soared shortly before half-time when Keita surged into the box, but after being tackled the ball went loose to Issiaga Sylla, who smashed a scorching shot high into the net.
Namibia hardly threatened, but had a great chance just before the break when a deft back heel by Peter Shalulile put Petrus Shitembi clear, but he fluffed his chance.
Warriors coach Bobby Samaria brought on strikers Elmo Kambindu and Benson Shilongo in the second half, and Shilongo came close with a shot on the turn, but Guinea increased their lead midway through the second half with Keita once again the instigator.
He found Ibrahima Conte with a cross kick and, although his shot was blocked by Kazapua, Jose Kante followed up to volley the loose ball into the net.
Namibia tried hard to get back into the match, but they were kept in check by Guinea's defence, which used the offside trap to good effect. Teberius Lombard had a goal disallowed for offside early in the second half, while a tame Kambindu header from a Hotto free kick was the only other notable effort on goal.
The Afcon qualifying campaign now takes a break till the end of August next year when Namibia will play their remaining four matches over a period of nine weeks.
On 31 August they will be away to Mali and a week later will host them in the return leg in Windhoek; on 5 October they are away to Chad; and on 9 November they will host Guinea in their final qualifying match in Windhoek.
In other Afcon qualifying matches over the weekend, Senegal recorded their second successive victory with a 4-1 away win against eSwatini to go to the top of Group I.
Famara Diedhiou scored a hat trick which puts Senegal at the top on six points, with Congo and Guinea-Bissau on three points each.
Nigeria is the only other team to have won their opening two matches so far and lead Group L on six points after a 4-2 victory away to Lesotho.
The Super Eagles' 20-year-old striker, Victor Osimhen, scored a brace and is the early leader with three goals in the Afcon qualifying campaign.
Meanwhile, South Africa bounced back from a 2-0 defeat to Ghana last week, to beat Sudan 1-0 at home, with Lebogang Phiri scoring the winner on the stroke of half-time.
The win put Bafana level with Ghana and Sudan on three points in Group C, with Sudan the leaders on goal difference after they beat Sao Tome and Principe 4-0 last week.
In Group B, Uganda beat Malawi 2-0 at home to join Burkina Faso at the top on four points, while Gabon beat Angola 2-1 at home to go to the top of Group D on four points, with Gambia in second place a point behind.
In a Group F match, Cameroon beat Rwanda 1-0 in Kigali to go to the top on four points, with Mozambique a point behind after also beating Rwanda 2-0 last Thursday.
The second round matches in Groups E, G, H, J and K will be completed on Tuesday and Wednesday.