The Brave Warriors were still awaiting Covid-19 tests yesterday ahead of their departure for Cameroon this morning to participate in the 2021 African Nations Championship which has already been plunged into controversy.
At print deadline yesterday the final Brave Warriors squad had not been announced, since the management was still awaiting the final results of Covid-19 tests done on the players.
“We are still waiting for the results, but we are keeping our fingers crossed for the entire team to test negative, because these are the tests that we need to use for travelling purposes,”coach Bobby Samaria said after yesterday morning’s training session.
“We are scheduled to leave tomorrow morning in two groups on two separate flights, because there are only a limited number of seats available on the plane due to Covid-19 restrictions,” he added.
Ten players had earlier tested positive for the virus, but they have since recovered and joined yesterday’s training session.
“They have finished their cycle and now at this point in time they are not infected any more, so they were discharged, but still because we are awaiting their results, we did not want them to mingle and thats why we were training in two separate groups,” Samaria said.
He expressed satisfaction with the squad’s progress after yesterday’s session.
“We concentrated on defending set-pieces as well as attacking set-pieces. Unfortunately due to the numbers that we have we could not do a full tactical session but we managed and I think we did well,” he said.
Samaria said their preparations were not the best, but that they would do their best to make their country proud.
“It’s very difficult to predict how we will do because our preparations have been disrupted due to the coronavirus that entered our camp, but we remain optimistic that we can go and represent the country to the best of our ability.
Of course we will not go there to be a laughing stock and we will most definitely give a good account of ourselves,” he said.
Meanwhile, the self declared separatist state Ambazonia last week issued a statement saying that the city of Limbe, where Namibia will play some of its matches, is a ‘war zone’ and added that they could not be held responsible for the participating teams’ safety.
They had sent the statement to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and CC’d several national associations of the participating nations, but yesterday, NFA secretary general Franco Cosmos denied that they had been contacted by the group.
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“I read about it but they never wrote to us. The secessionist group is trying to instil fear, but CAF and the local organising committee are in charge of the situation. I’m sure they will not put us in a place where they cant guarantee the safety of the teams. It’s not just us, it’s the other teams and all the match officials as well, and I can’t imagine that CAF will be so negligent to say just come and play if it’s not safe,” he said.
Samaria added that alternative plans had also been made.
“We were informed that there’s a conflict between the English speaking and French speaking population, but CAF previously said that if the problems escalate then all the matches scheduled for Limbe will be rescheduled for another town. But if things are under control we will continue to play there so it’s for CAF to make that decision.”
The tournament gets underway on Saturday when Cameroon take on Zimbabwe, while Mali face Burkina Faso.
Namibia’s first match is next Tuesday, 19 January when they face Guinea, while their other two remaining group matches are against Tanzania on 23 January and Zambia four days later.