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Namibia want to continue AFCON beautiful story

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Namibia
Namibia players line up before their match against Tunisia. PHOTO/CAF
  • Namibia are playing the group stages for the first time ever
  • They hope to continue making history
  • Angola are seeking a third quarter final place in their history

Namibia picked a 1-0 win over Tunisia in Group E and another brave performance over Mali that earned them four points in the pool statges of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to put them in a historic place at the tournament; a first ever knockout phase ticket.

The Brave Warriors are looking to continue with their beautiful story, and as they face Angola in the round of 16 in Bouake, their ambition is to earn a ticket to the quarters for the first time ever.

Just like Gambia surprised everyone in their debut in Cameroon in 2021, the Namibians are seeking a similar run.

Head coach Colin Benjamin says his team is ready and have their eyes on history, and hoisting their country’s flag high.

“We have some good technical players with big hearts and there is the signature of the coach, there is some players who have been with the team since 2019, and there is continuity and security. We are a very good team, our boys are happy to be here and there is more fun,” Benjamin said ahead of the game.

Namibia’s determination and ambition

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Idrissa Gueye of Senegal on the attack during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Namibia and Senegal held at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on 12 October 2021 © Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

He adds; “It’s the determination. it’s ambition, it’s mentality, these boys want to succeed and they understand everything about the team. We are aware of what to do, it is very important to have a stable defense.”

Their dream, Benjamin says, is to make the quarters. “We want to be part of the best 16 teams in Africa and definitely we are among the best 16, it is a motivation in itself.”

But, they will come up against an equally ambitious Angolan side.

Angola’s national team will look to qualify for the quarter finals of the Africa Cup of Nations for the third time in their country’s history.

The Palancas Negras have made it to the last eight of the Cup of Nations only twice before, in 2008 in Ghana and in 2010 when they hosted the tournament. Fourteen years own, the Portuguese-speaking nation aim for another place in the last eight, at the expense of Namibia.

Head coach Pedro Goncalves is optimistic is country have what it takes when they take on a tough side in the Brace Warriors.

“It has been a historic moment for us and we have a bigger game, perhaps the biggest game in the last 14 years of the Angolan national team.  Our focus is to be on the pitch and deliver and in the end beat Namibia,” the coach said during the pre-match press conference.

Namibia will be tough, admit Angola

Namibia

Angola players celebrate a goal in a past match. PHOTO/CAF

He admits it will be tough against a Namibia side only placed two places below them in the FIFA rankings. While Angola topped their group, Namibia qualified for the last 16 as one of the best four third placed teams.

“For sure, it will be very tough but I have confidence everybody will do a great job. Namibia is a very powerful team, they are very brave. We need to be considerate in our passing. We have to be balance because if we lose our balance, Namibia can be dangerous for us,” the tactician said, looking forward to the game.

This is only the second meeting between Angola and Namibia at the AFCON; the other was a 3-3 draw in the 1998 group stages, a game in which Namibia were 2-0 and 3-1 ahead.

Angola and Namibia haven’t met in any competition since a November 2015 friendly at the Estádio 11 de Novembro, won 1-0 by Angola.

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