POLOKWANE, 03 JUN – The Brave Warriors were unlucky in their Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup quarter-final match against Zambia and things just did not work out for them, head coach Ricardo Mannetti said.
The Brave Warriors lost 4-3 in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw during regulation time at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa.
Speaking to the media after the game, Mannetti said they had not planned to be pinned back in their own half by Zambia.
“We wanted to win the ball high up the field and keep Zambia in their own half, but their individual brilliance stopped us from doing that. Every time we set defensive traps for them, they got out brilliantly,” he said.
Mannetti said they had to switch to plan B, which was to deny the Zambians space in the Brave Warriors’ defensive half, which he believes his team did very well.
He was however worried about Namibia’s decision-making in attack as he feels his players were not calm and failed to keep possession.
“In the last 30 minutes our energy levels dropped a bit. We also lost Kaka (Panduleni Nekundi) to an injury and Dynamo Fredericks and we could not keep the same momentum to put Zambia under pressure,” he added.
Mannetti however refused to believe that Zambia were physical stronger than Namibia, saying the match against Zambia showed that the Brave Warriors need to improve when it comes to individual play.
He praised the Zambians for being able to display their individual brilliance at various stages of the game, but said his boys failed to match them.
“Their confidence on the ball, their passing and the way they created space set them apart. They were composed while we were not,” Mannetti said.
Zambia will now play in the semi-finals where they will face either South Africa or Madagascar, while Namibia shifts their attention to the Plate competition.
They will play the losers of the South Africa-Madagascar match on Tuesday at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium.