Namibia’s Brave Warriors chase shock win in Thies

football07 October 2021 14:02| © Backpage TXT
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Bobby Samaria © Backpagepix

Namibia will chase a shock win over 2022 World Cup qualifying group H leaders Senegal at Stade Lat Dior in Thies on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 9pm CAT.

Senegal racked up successive wins in their WCQ matches last month, defeating Togo 2-0 at home and Congo 3-1 away (with goals from Sadio Mane [two], Abdou Diallo, Boulaye Dia and Ismaila Sarr) to sit proudly at the top of the log with six points.

Yet, Namibia are just two points back after their exploits, which saw them held 1-1 at ‘home’ in Johannesburg (with their usual venues in Windhoek not up to Caf’s required standards) by Congo before an away victory over Togo in Lome, in which Elmo Kabindu netted the only goal.

The Teranga Lions were under something of a cloud in the build-up to October’s international break, due to uncertainty over coach Aliou Cisse, though that was cleared up when he signed a new two-year deal.

One of Cisse’s first actions since renewing was naming a squad which included the controversial Bouna Saar – a player many feel is being opportunistic by agreeing to play for Senegal, having previously stated that he was only interested in playing for the country of his birth, France.

“I think Bouna didn't make a choice by default. The fact of knowing other players in the den made him decide to join us. We are happy to have him with us, because he is a good player, because he is an experienced player,” said Cisse.

“For Bouna Sarr, there are no guarantees. He also comes to find great players. Like all players who arrive in the national team, they must fight to earn their place on the field.”

Namibia coach Bobby Samaria, meanwhile, says his team is in a good space heading into their clashes against Senegal, even while admitting that the absence of injured Blackburn Rovers defender Ryan Nyambe is a huge blow.

"We do not cry over spilt milk; we re-set and alter the plan a bit, and remain positive and upbeat about our prospects," he said.

In head-to-head stats, Senegal and Namibia have met in six matches dating back as far as 2001. The Teranga Lions have claimed five wins compared to one for the Brave Warriors. The teams’ most recent meeting was a Cosafa Cup clash in July of this year in Gqeberha, South Africa, which was won 2-1 by Namibia thanks to goals from Marcel Papama and Elmo Kabindu.

The other group H match on Saturday sees Togo host Congo at Stade de Kegue in Lome in an afternoon kick-off.