JOHANNESBURG – Namibia’s coach, Ricardo Mannetti moved swiftly to answer a question that wasn’t even directed at him, but was about the Brave Warriors.
The question, posed to Morocco’s Herve Renard, was how far the Frenchman thought Namibia would go at the Africa Cup of Nations. Mannetti was asked to assess the Atlas Lions after the North Africans won Sunday’s between the two team’s 1-0.
“I can answer for the both of us,” Mannetti said. “You can’t come to the Nations Cup after 11 years, you are in the group of death and then you talk about getting out of the group. As far as I am concerned, we will play an important role in deciding who is going to go through. That should be quoted.
We will play that role, and we are happy playing that role. How far will Morocco go? I think that they have a good enough side with a lot of depth. They are a team that can go to the final and even lift this trophy. Leave the talk about Namibia and the second round.”
Namibia are participating at Afcon for the first time since 2008 in a group where they were coincidentally are also drawn with Morocco who thumped them 5-1 in Ghana.
Renard, still making a name for himself on the continent, was Claude le Roy’s assistant at Ghana. Namibia finished bottom of their group in 2008. They could also finish bottom of their group this time around, something that wouldn’t surprise Mannetti.
“We shouldn’t forget that we are in the group of death,” he said. “We are the underdogs. I told you before, I don’t have a problem with the underdog tag. I am so proud of my boys, of the way they executed the tactics.