Namibia are housed in a tough pool for the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019 as they will be in Group D with giants of three former winners, Cote d’Ivoire Morocco and South Africa.
While many would expect the Brave Warriors to shiver at the sound of the group, their head coach Ricardo Mannetti is not one to tremble at the sight of a giant.
“We are used to being the underdogs,” the former midfielder who played a huge chunk of his professional career in South Africa confidently told CAFonline.com.
“It is a perfect draw for us. We are used to being in this situation where we are the underdogs. If you look at the rest of the group, it is a perfect scenario for us. It is a perfect scenario for the underdogs,” Manetti told CAFonline.com.
The Brave Warriors qualified for their first AFCON since 2008 and only the third in their history when they finished second in Group K behind group winners Guinea Bissau. Namibia had eight points - two wins and two draws, qualifying ahead of Mozambique on the head to head rule after finishing on equal points.
They Namibians lost heavily 4-1 to Zambia in their last qualification match in Lusaka and had their hands in their heads, tears rolling down their cheeks and thinking that qualification had escaped off their grasp, only to learn that Guinea Bissau had grabbed a late equalizer against the Mozambicans in Bissau to hand them a ticket to Egypt.
“It was a very emotional last day of qualification for us. One moment you are in, the next you are out… But ultimately it was such a joy for us to qualify. We are not here to make numbers. We are here to compete,” the tactician stated.
Namibia will be based at the Al Salaam Stadium in Cairo start their campaign against Morocco’s Atlas Lions on June 23 before facing South Africa in a regional derby on June 28 then finishing off the campaign against Cote d’Ivoire on July 2.