Namibia coach Ricardo Mannetti has suggested that he will use the 2018 COSAFA Cup as a platform to blood new players into the Brave Warriors set-up to avoid mistakes made in the past.
Mannetti picked a squad of locally-based players for friendly matches with Lesotho and Swaziland with the express purpose of giving a run to those he saw as potential international players.
He says the experiment was a good one and showed him who is ready to take the step up to the next level.
“We experimented against Lesotho, and now Swaziland, and I am satisfied with the overall outcome of the two games,” Mannetti was quoted by Nampa. “We saw players who are ready, and players who are doing well domestically, but not yet ready for the national team set-up.”
The coach has taken this path to avoid a repeat of previous instances when retirements of several players close to one-another left a huge skills and experience void in the Brave Warriors side.
“In 1998, we had a good team. But after all the players retired, we struggled to compete well, even to qualify for the African Nations Cup until 10 years later when we rebuilt another team which qualified,” Mannetti said.
“To widen a national team takes a lot of character, as most coaches are afraid of doing that because they are more focused on getting the results. “My technical team and I have lately been taking bold decisions to start giving chances to other players who will take over from the current crop.”
That will continue at the COSAFA Cup in South Africa’s Limpopo province from May 27-June 9, where Namibia will take on Zambia in the quarterfinals at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on June 2.
Namibia won the COSAFA Cup in 2015, before claiming the Plate competition on home soil the following year. They again made the Plate decider in 2017, but this time lost to hosts South Africa.