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Can Namibian Inexperienced Squad Create An Impact

Namibia's first match, which is against South Africa, will take place on Thursday, October 8 at 19:00 GMT
Brave Warriors coach Bobby Samaria named a largely inexperienced side to take on South Africa in an international friendly match at Rustenburg on Thursday evening.

Samaria named a 30-man squad of mostly local-based players with only seven foreign-based players being called up. Six of the seven play in the South African Premier Soccer League, namely goal keepers Virgil Vries of Moroka Swallows and Lloyd Kazapua (Baroka FC); defenders Chris Katjiukua (Black Leopards), Riaan !Hanamub (Chippa United) and Ananias Gebhardt (Baroka FC) and striker Peter Shalulile (Mamelodi Sundowns); while striker Joslin Kamatuka plays for Cape Omeya FC in the South African Nationwide First Division.

Prominent players who were not called up include winger Deon Hotto who recently joined South African giants Orlando Pirates, while others further afield like Petrus Shitembi (Malaysia), Wangu Gome (Armenia), Ryan Nyambe (England) and Manfred Starke (Germany) were not considered.

Despite having a largely young and inexperienced side, there are still quite a few experienced players in the squad. Defensive midfielder Denzil Haoseb, who has returned to Namibia from Highlands Park, is the most experienced with 68 national caps, while wing back Larry Horaeb has 59 caps to his name.

Other experienced players in the squad include Gebhardt (41 caps), Absalom Iimbondi (38 caps), and Peter Shalulile and Chris Katjiukua with 37 caps each.

Some of the recent newcomers who could stake a claim for future call-ups include the strikers Issaskar Gurirab and Elmo Kambindu, the midfielders Marcel Papama, Llewellyn Stanley and Wendell Rudath; and the defenders Aprocius Petrus, Rehabeam Mbango and Erasmus Ikeinge.

South Africa have held the upper hand over Namibia over the years, having won seven, drawing two and losing two of their 11 encounters since 1998.

That first encounter in 1998 was probably Namibia's most famous victory against their southern African neighbours when they won 3-2 in the Cosafa Cup, while they repeated the feat the following year winning on penalties in the same competition. Since then, however, South Africa have won six out of seven encounters, with Namibia's only point coming in a 1-1 draw in Durban in 2010.

Meanwhile, news24.Com reported that most of the Bafana squad arrived in camp on Sunday and Monday, while three European-based players, Percy Tau, Keegan Dolly and Luther Singh flew into South Africa on Monday.

Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki made two late changes to his squad, replacing Kurt Abrahams with Amazulu attacking midfielder Sinethemba Sithebe, and Sipho Mbule with the young Portuguese-based forward Lyle Foster.

According to reports, Bafana's training session on Monday had to be called off due to heavy showers in Johannesburg. Ünfortunately due to persistent heavy rains and hailstorm, we did not get to have our first training session," Ntseki told Safa's official website.

"We will be driving up to Rustenburg tomorrow morning and get straight into training ahead of our two crucial friendlies against Namibia and Zambia, in preparation for our 2021 Afcon qualifiers in November," he added. The Bafana squad is also mostly made up of local-based players, with only six foreign-based professionals in the 25-man squad.

They are goalkeeper Darren Keet of Oud Haverlee Leuven FC in Belgium, defenders Thibang Phete (OS Belenenses SAD, Portugal), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France), Percy Tau (Anderlecht, Belgium), Lyle Foster (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal) and Luther Singh (Braga FC, Portugal).

The Namibian squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Ratanda Mbazuvara, Kamaijanda Ndisiro, Loydt Kazapua and Virgil Vries.

Defenders: Chris Katjiukua, Riaan !Hanamub, Ananias Gebhardt, Emilio Martin, Vitapi Ngaruka, Larry Horaeb, Aprocius Petrus, Rehabeam Mbango, Erasmus Ikeinge, Denzil Haoseb, Kleopas Nuukushu.

Midfielders: Dynamo Fredericks, Immanuel Heita, Wendell Rudath, Gustav Isaak, Alfeus Handura, Llewelyn Stanley, Absalom Iimbondi, Wesley Katjiteo, Marcel Papama.

Forwards: Elmo Kambindu, Issaskar Gurirab, Panduleni Nekundi, Monis Omseb, Peter Shalulile, Joslin Kamatuka.

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