Brave Warriors head coach Collin Benjamin called up 40 players to prepare for the pair of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions in March.
Namibia face Cameroon on March 24 before hosting the return leg four days later in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Benjamin called up a plethora of exciting youngsters to challenge experienced regulars for a starting berth against the 2022 Fifa World Cup participants.
The Brave Warriors need to be competitive while having an eye on the future, said head coach Collin Benjamin when announcing his provisional selection for the pair of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions.
He decided against including the likes of vice-captain Petrus Shitembi, Wangu Gome, Lubeni Haukongo, Aprocious Petrus and in-form winger Willy Stephanus.
Captain Peter Shalulile leads the squad’s stars abroad, with Ryan Nyambe of Wigan Athletic in the English second-tier, budding attacker Prins Tjiueza, Botswana-based Wendell Rudath and Deon Hotto of South African giants Orlando Pirates also in the side.
It is no secret that Benjamin inherited an ageing Brave Warriors side desperately in need of rejuvenation when he took over the reins from interim coach Bobby Samaria last June.
Benjamin is excited about welcoming youngsters into the fold and said “stealing points from Cameroon is not impossible”.
And, finally having an active domestic football scene has helped increase the pool from which to draw previously understated talents to complement the foreign based legion.
“These young players that we saw in the 15 matches of the premier league bring energy. We feel that they deserve a chance. We are convinced of their abilities. If one puts up his hand, then he will play from the start,” Benjamin said as his rebuild takes shape.
“They are hungry and hopefully can help energize the team. They deserve a chance. We are convinced of their abilities. We’re looking to play an aggressive game and be intensive. That’s what the international game demands.”
He is mindful of the disparity in quality and pedigree between his charges and the star-studded Indomitable Lions, many of whom ply their trade at the highest level in Europe.
The type of players in his selection, hardworking and diligent, suggest an attempt at bridging that gap.
“What Namibia needs right now is energy. Namibia, and I say this with a lot of respect [to our players], we’re never gonna outplay an opponent like Cameroon. But we can outwork any opponent.
So, we’re looking for energy. We’re looking at players that have the mentality of putting their talent at the service of the team,” Benjamin explained.
“We need a good preparation. We need a very fit team, a hungry team. We need players who are willing to go beyond their limits.
“Preparation is key, that’s why we’re starting with the players at home. If you are prepared to do the work, you have a chance,” Benjamin said.
In the squad are:
Goalkeepers: Loydt Kazapua (Chippa United, RSA), Edward Maova (Pretoria Callies, RSA), Ndisiro Kamaijanda and Mervin Kazetura (African Stars), Nelly Rooi (Tigers).
Defenders: Ryan Nyambe (Wigan Athletic, ENG), Ivan Kamberipa (Matsutake, BOT), Johannes Shifafure (Julinho Sporting), Steven Damaseb (Blue Waters), Kennedy Amutenya (Gaborone Utd, BOT), Charles Hambira (African Stars), Denzel Haoseb (Orlando Pirates), Gianluca Kahingunga (Okahandja Utd), Ananias Gebhardt (Baroka, RSA), Riaan Hanamub (AmaZulu, RSA), Nalikewe Nalweendo (Citizens), Brandon Naibeb (Orlando Pirates).
Midfielders: Reverend Matroos (Young Brazilians) Devin Somseb (Life Fighters), Ndero Katua (Unam), Dynamo Fredericks (African Stars), Prins Tjiueza (Liria Prizren, KOV), Simon Elago (Tura Magic), Paulus Amutenya (Unam), Marcel Papama (Jwaneng, BOT), Ueturo Kambato (African Stars), Absalom Iimbondi (Tigers).
Strikers: Joslin Kamatuka (African Stars), Nehemia Ndengu (Tura Magic), Peter Shalulile (Sundowns, RSA), Bethuel Muzeu (Black Leopards, RSA), Elmo Kambindu (Chippa Utd, RSA), Junior Petrus (Blue Waters), Michelino Hei-Gauseb (Okahandja Utd), Deon Hotto (Orlando Pirates, RSA), Wendel Rudath (Jwaneng, BOT), Edmar Kamatuka (African Stars), Stofell Witbeen (Okahandja Utd), Erwin Tjiuja and Eliakim Jadsson (Life Fighters).
The coach of the Cameroonian football team, Rigobert Song made public the list of 24 players who will take part in the double header confrontation of the Indomitable Lions against Namibia.
Virtually all the players who took part in the last World Cup played in Qatar are on the list of 24 players. Also noted is the presence of young Elliott Njongoue from Chelsea.
As a reminder, the 24 selected will participate in the double qualifying confrontation for AFCON 2023. It will be against Namibia on March 24 and 28.
Below is the list of players called up:
Goalkeepers: 1- Epassy Devis (Al Ahba Club), 2- Omossola Simon (FC Saint-Eloi Lupopo), 3- Mbahbi Marcelin Bouyane (Gazelle of Garoua)
Defenders: 4- Etta Thomas Bawak (PWD Bamenda), 5- Yongwa Ngameni Darlin (FC Lorient), 6- Nouhou Tolo (Seattle Sounders), 7- Malcom Bokele Mputu (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), 8- Jean Charles Castelletto (FC Nantes), 9- Wooh Christopher (Stade Rennais), 10- Boyomo Flavien (Albacete Balompie), 11- Nicholas Nkoulou (Aris Saloniki)
Midfielders: 12- Hongla Martin (Real Valladoid), 13- Kunde Malong (VFL Bochum), 14- Zambo Anguissa (SSC Napoli), 15- Ntcham Olivier (Swansea FC), 16- Olivier Kemen (Kayserispor), 17- Njongoue Benjamin Elliot (Chelsea)
Attackers: 18- Ganago Ignatius (FC Nantes), 19- Moumi Ngamaleu (Dynamo Moscow), 20- Emmanuel Mahop (Canon Yaounde), 21- Ngom Mbekeli Jerome (SK Beveren), 22- Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford), 23- Aboubakar Vincent (Besiktas Istanbul)
Bayern Munchen forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will miss Cameroon’s 2023 AFCON qualifier matches against Namibia at home and away after failing to recover from a back problem in time.
The captain, Vincent Aboubakar will also miss the first game in Yaounde, owing to a suspension dating back to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The head coach of the Indomitable Lions, Rigobert Song, has added two home-based players to his squad as they prepare for their double header AFCON qualifiers against Namibia. PWD’s right back Thomas Etta Bawak and Canon Yaounde’s Emmanuel Mahop, are the latest additions. Fai Collins (right back) is set to miss the Namibia games.
Kick-off time is scheduled for Friday evening at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium (19:30 GMT (8:30pm Cameroon time).
Indomitable Lions possible starting lineup – Epassy Devis (GK); Etta Bawak, Castelleto, Wooh, Tolo; Zambo, Kunde, Ntcham; Mbeumo, Ignatius Ganago, Moumi Ngamaleu
Brave Warriors possible starting lineup – Kazapua (GK); Haoseb, Nyambe, Kamberipa, Hanamub; Deon Hotto, Dynamo Fredericks, Kambindu, Ananias Gebhardt; Shalulilie, Rudath
Cameroon Indomitable Lions vs Namibia Brave
All the AFCON qualifying groups from Group A to Group L have played at least 2 matches, except Group C where Cameroon finds itself with Namibia, Burundi and Kenya on 3 points, 1 point, 1 point and 0 point respectively.
Cameroon may have certainly impressed the world by providing a stark reminder that it still possesses the knack of upsetting the apple cart with their one-nil victory over Brazil; but Africa is where they made their name and qualifying for AFCON 2023 in Cote d’Ivoire is an imperative after successfully hosting on home soil.
There are two notable absences in the attack line but head coach Rigobert Song will have no excuse for not getting the full 3 points against an opponent ranked 113th in the FIFA rankings. If there was ever a time to try out new combinations and new players, the time is now!
Namibia lie at the bottom of qualifying Group C, behind Burundi and leaders Cameroon. The Brave Warriors’ campaign got off to a shaky start last year after being held 1-1 by Burundi, who subsequently lost their next match 1-0 to Cameroon. Namibia need only to finish second to qualify for the Afcon finals in Ivory Coast.
On January 26, 1997, Namibia lost 0-4 against Cameroon in the AFCON 1998 Burkina Faso qualifiers away before losing at home 0-1 on July 12, 1997. Is history about to repeat itself?
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