Ricardo Mannetti: Zambia versus Namibia is a derby

Ricardo Mannetti: Zambia versus Namibia is a derby
Ricardo Mannetti

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Jan 22, 2018. 14:30

Namibia coach Ricardo Mannetti believes the 2018 CAF African Nations Championship tournament has been fantastic for Southern African sides.

With Zambia and the Brave Warriors having already reached the quarter-finals of the competition, it is only the Angolans who are yet to seal their qualification.

The progress of sides affiliated to COSAFA has proven that football is on the rise on the southern part of the continent.

However, Mannetti believes that hosts Morocco have an advantage regarding home support, conditions and revealed he would prefer to face Sudan instead of the Atlas Lions in the Last Eight.

"Morocco have a lot in their favour - home support, home conditions, they score freely so let me honest and say I'll be happy to play against Sudan rather than Morocco,” said Mannetti.

“Sudan are visitors to Morocco just like us. They are physical and we have worry about that but we still prefer to play them over the hosts.

“Marrakech has been our home and we want to finish top of the group (by beating Zambia tomorrow) so we can go back and play the quarterfinal there.

“The organisation (of the tournament) has been excellent - what you would expect from a big tournament. The conditions are good - fields, training fields, facilities and we enjoy playing in the colder conditions that we have here.

“Namibia versus Zambia is a derby - we are neighbours in COSAFA so it would be like Morocco versus Egypt or Morocco versus Algeria – it’s a big match and we want to win against them.

"But our priority is the quarterfinal - not the game against Zambia - so we will rest players and make changes so we can prepare for the quarterfinal on Saturday

“This has been a fantastic tournament for southern African teams. Angola just need a point (from their final game) and then they are through to the quarters.

“We are through, Zambia are through. If Angola qualify then that means all three teams from COSAFA region will have qualified. That would be 3 out of the 8 teams in the quarterfinals - that's impressive.”

Namibia will face Chipolopolo in their final Group B match at at Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Monday evening, with kick-off at 21:00 (CAT).

Meanwhile, the Palancas Negras will only need a win or a draw against Congo on Wednesday to book a spot in the knockout stages.

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