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Bobby Samaria Called Up Mine International Players

Namibia' Brave Warriors players in a training session. Photo: Mathews Garov 
The uncertainty about whether the Cosafa Cup will take place will have a big bearing on the Brave Warriors squad that interim coach Bobby Samaria will select on Friday. Samaria and his recently appointed assistant Robert Nauseb took a local based squad of 35 players through their paces at the NFA Technical Centre on Tuesday, but with the Cosafa Cup still undecided, Samaria said it could have an impact on the final squad that he will select. 

"We are preparing for the international friendly against South Africa on 8 October, as well as for the Cosafa Cup competition, which was originally supposed to take place from 2 to 17 October, but now it looks like that will be deferred. "So we are now in two minds, because we have this group of local-based players, and then we have also called up nine international players. 

We are also not oblivious to the travelling arrangements of Manfred Starke in Germany, Benson Shilongo in Egypt, and Petrus Shitembi in Malaysia, but I think we won't consider them for this particular match," he said. "We will concentrate more on the guys in the SADC region, the players in South Africa, and of course, Teberius Lombard in Zambia for the international friendly, if the Cosafa Cup goes ahead. If not, then we'll use maybe two or three from the international group and give that opportunity to the bulk of the local-based players for the South Africa match," he said. 

The acting secretary general of the Namibia Football Association, Franco Cosmos yesterday said that the Cosafa Cup had not been finalised yet. Ït was initially supposed to take place in Durban from 2 to 17 October, but we haven't received an update on that yet, and they are still in meetings discussing the issue," he said. "The international friendly against South Africa will now take place on 8 October in South Africa, but we are waiting for confirmation of the venue from the South African Football Association," he added. 

Namibia's nine foreign based players in the South African Premier Soccer League are Peter Shalulile, Deon Hotto, Virgil Vries, Ananias Gebhardt, Lloyd Kazapua, Chris Katjiukua, Max Mbaeva, Denzil Haoseb and Riaan !Hanamub. Regarding the local-based players, Samaria said they were improving steadily. "When we started their physical condition was not that good, and when we did fitness tests last Thursday, half of the team recorded statistics that were below the threshold. 

But since then they have improved tremendously and they are also breathing much easier now, so we are planning to have another test tomorrow and will take it from there," he said."But these guys last played in November, so they are very rusty, but their touches have improved and I'd say we are 70 percent there," he added. Samaria said they were also preparing for two African Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Mali in November. 

"That is why we thought, if the Cosafa Cup goes ahead, we'll have our professionals based in South Africa and Zambia to prepare for the Mali game away and the home game against Mali a week later. But in the absence of that we can always see how to manoeuvre the two teams together, not losing sight of the objective of doing well at Cosafa and against South Africa, and of course the objective of trying to qualify for Afcon," he said. Regarding the recent addition of Robert Nauseb to the technical staff, Samaria said he was impressed by his work ethic. 

"Robert is a worker. He's a guy who wants to be on the pitch, he dreams, he eats, he plays and he sleeps football. So I think his insight into the game is good and his sporting conduct is also good and I've already watched him when he was with the Brave Gladiators. We had previously already brought him into the setup to help prepare the Chan team, so he's been in our plans for quite a while now," he said.
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