By John Tuerijama
BRAVE Warriors head coach Ricardo Mannetti has brushed off criticism by football commentators, defending his decision to bring on Deon Hotto as super sub in the 2019 AFCON qualifier against Mozambique on Tuesday night. Hotto came on as a substitute in the 46th minute of the match played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium. Brave Warriors’ striker Peter Shalulile netted home the only goal of the game for Namibia to collect the much needed three-points. Mannetti’s critics believe that Hotto is one of the country’s best strikers and should be in the starting 11. The three points accumulated brought the senior national team to seven points in their Group K, and with the remaining two matches against Guinea Bissau on 17 November, 2018 and Zambia’s Chipolopolo early next year, Namibia looks set to qualify for the 2019 African showpiece. According to Mannetti the Brave Warriors need only 10 points to book a place for the Cameroon finals. But a win and a draw will guarantee that the Brave Warriors ending the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 10-year drought. Namibia last featured in the continental showpiece in 2008. Speaking to Confidente, the national senior team mentor said that it was always best to have the best 11 players on the pitch in order to have a more balanced team. “We normally have a plan A and B and Hotto fits more into plan B, since he gives us a variety of options where to play him,” he said. “I do not know why there is an outcry on Hotto. He can be played on the inside left or played as a second striker giving us a lot of options and he does exceptionally well coming from the bench,” stressed Mannetti. The head coach said Tuesday’s results and the one in Maputo last Saturday handsomely paid off, and all this thanks to the team’s technical plan B. Brave Warriors changed from the normal 4-4-2 formation to a more flexible 3-5-2, because countries like Mozambique play with more strikers upfront. “We countered back with the three centre backs though Mozambique had a bigger chunk of the ball possession, they had difficulties penetrating our defence. I am happy that we were tactically better and good with ball possession in the second stanza.” Defensively the team was better organised though Mozambique had few target shots. The likes of Willy Stephanus and Sadney Urikhob played very well. Mannetti added that Stephanus is a deadball specialist and his brilliant passes finally caught Shalulile to find the back of the net. “Stephanus’ deliveries were very good on the night. Absalom Imbodi did not have a good performance compared to the match played in Maputo but normally he is a hard-working player with an extremely high work rate.” Mannetti believes in players who can offer him more options and Imbondi is one such player. Going forward “We need to put our foot firmly on the ground and we have a lot work to do as we have not yet qualified. We have done video analyses of our opponents and Collin Benjamin is the man tasked with analysing the (opponent teams) players,” said the head coach. Fans behaviour Brave Warriors fans threw beer cans onto the pitch in celebration of the goal but Mannetti described the behaviour as unruly. He said fans needed to be educated on how to properly behave in stadiums.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015