Angola’s round of 16 clash with Namibia at Stade de la Paix sees the Palancas Negras seek to match their best showing at the Africa Cup of Nations. Both teams open the round of 16 in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.
The Brave Warriors of Namibia have already made history at AFCON 2023, making it to the knockout rounds for the first time in the nation’s history, and should back themselves against a side without recent exploits at this stage.
Angola were meant to battle with Burkina Faso for second place in Group D at the Cup of Nations, but the Palancas Negras instead topped the group against pre-tournament predictions.
The upshot of Pedro Goncalves’s men ending with seven points means they play a fourth game at the continental showpiece for the first time since hosting the finals in 2010, having failed to progress in 2012, 2013 and 2019.
Claiming two victories also set a new record for the southern African side, who had never secured more than one win at previous editions, and they could make that three with another triumph this Saturday January 27.
Goncalves’s side have been aided by their goalscoring prowess in a goal-laden tournament, with their six strikes matching their tally from 2012 (four), 2013 (one) and 2019 (one) combined.
That undoubtedly stands the Palancas Negras in good stead to make it past Namibia as they seek a quarter-final meeting with either Nigeria or Cameroon in the next round.
The Brave Warriors are not expected to make it easy for Angola, even if they have no experience at this stage of the Cup of Nations.
Collin Benjamin’s troops secured a historic victory over 2004 champions Tunisia in their tournament opener in Group E, effectively securing their place in Saturday’s game as one of the best third-placed sides.
Deon Hotto’s 88th-minute winner against the Carthage Eagles was Namibia’s first-ever win at the finals, and they had something to build on despite a 4#0 beatdown by South Africa in their second game.
A clean sheet in the final clash with Mali means the Brave Warriors secured a creditable point to secure passage to a fourth fixture against Group C winners Angola, and the Palancas Negras’ recent inexperience at this stage makes it a level-playing field in Bouake.
Whatever happens, Namibia were the big winners of a rather uninspiring group, and they hope to make the tournament’s last eight despite goalscoring flaws.
Of Angola’s four different goalscorers, Mabululu and Gelson Dala have netted twice, and the pair hope to play pivotal parts in this Saturday’s clash in Bouake.
It remains to be seen if Bruno Paz and Fredy, substituted against Burkina Faso with knocks, are fit to play against the Brave Warriors.
Peter Shalulile may have netted four times in AFCON qualifying, but Namibia’s captain has failed to sparkle at the finals against superior opponents.
Benjamin is not expected to change tack against Angola, with the Brave Warriors boss anticipated to stick with his preferred 4-1-4-1 approach in Saturday’s fixture.
Angola possible starting XI
Neblu; Afonso, Gasper, Quinito, Carneiro; Fredy, Show; Gilberto, Zini, Dala; Mabululu
Namibia possible starting XI
Kazapua; Kamberipa, Amutenya, Haukonho, Hanamub; Petrus; Muzeu, Tijiueza, Katua, Hotto; Shalulile
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