The Flames and the Brave Warriors concluded their first friendly match with a goalless draw on Wednesday evening at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in the capital. The friendly clash was a platform for both teams to stretch muscles ahead of the Council of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) Cup set for Windhoek from 11 to 25 June. Namibia are the defending champions after winning the title last year in South Africa. The games featured a Namibian-controlled first-half with many opportunities being opened by the Brave Warriors but neither seeing the net. Namibian captain of the day Da Costa Angula showed that his return to the team was indeed worth it, as he kept solid and managed the back with calm and safety. Brave Warriors’ Riaan Hanamub and Malawian Francis Mlimbika both came close with shots but were too wide to concern either goalkeepers. Star Wangu Gome also gave the Malawian defense trouble at the stroke of halftime but the score remained zero for both teams by the first whistle.
With fresh legs of Dion Hotto and Roger Katjiteo featuring the start of the second half, the game became much interesting as both teams now went for long-stretch attacks. Malawi took charge of the better part of the second half but the Brave Warriors’ back was rock solid to allow their opponents a lead. Rather unfriendly, the last minutes of the game saw Malawian Hellings Mhango get a red card for a reckless tackle on Ferdinand Karongee. Big names such as Benson Shilongo and Peter Shalulile were left out for the big game when they face Botswana in their first cup game while regulars Virgil Fries and Chris Katjiuka succumbed to pending disciplinary procedures. While fans who endured the cold during the game expected to be warmed by goals, Namibia team coach says the match was not about results but preparations and looking out at individual players ahead of the big cup game. “Today’s game was a really good friendly match. It was a typical low tempo training match, which did not have character to set the stadium alight but I am happy that some of the players that I gave a chance to prove themselves did very well which is a good thing for the team. It was really a good training match” he said Ricardo Mannetti.
Malawian coach had the same objective but rather with an adaptable aim. “The game was tough because we are not used to playing in such conditions. Now we know where to work on,” said Ernest Mtawali.
Soccer fanatics will be in for a treat at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Cosafa Castle Cup at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek on Saturday, June 11 that will officially signal the start of the two-week long festival of football. The ceremony will precede the opening game between four-time winners Zimbabwe and an ever-improving Swaziland side that in itself will provide rich entertainment. That match will kick-off at 15h00 and will be followed by a second Group A encounter between the island nation of Seychelles and Zimbabwe. In attendance will also be Castle Lager SuperFans from seven of the competing countries – Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland and Lesotho. The SuperFans are the champion supporters of their country and bring colour, vibrancy and passion to the stands. Supporters can get a taste of the action early by booking their seat at the Sam Nujoma Stadium. Tickets for this prestigious tournament are on sale for N$20 and can be purchased at all TN Mobile teleshops, the Namibian Football Association’s Football House, the Freedom Land Mobile Police Station and Greenwell Matongo Police Station.
The tournament is one of a kind on the international calendar, given that no other regional event can boast a similar longevity or as wide a reach as the Cosafa Castle Cup. Zambia and Zimbabwe have each won the title on four occasions since the competition was first played in 1997, with Angola and South Africa managing two wins each. The 2016 hosts, Namibia, are also the holders after claiming their maiden title last year.