POLOKWANE, 05 JUN – Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti has announced the starting 11 that will face South Africa in the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup Plate Semi-final on Tuesday.
The team sees Wangu Batista Gome, who joined the camp on Sunday from his club Platinum Stars, make a return to the starting line-up.
This follows the injury to regular midfielder Dynamo Fredericks, whose fitness remains questionable after he suffered a hamstring injury against Zambia on Saturday.
Speaking to Nampa after their last training session at Sesheshogo Stadium in Polokwane, Mannetti said Fredericks, Panduleni Nekundi and Itamunua Keimuine remain doubtful for this clash.
“They did train with the rest of the team, but the medical staff said they are not fully fit, hence the decision to leave them out. We cannot risk them at this point. I hope we win the game in regular time so as to avoid me calling them into action under current conditions,” he said.
Fredericks and Keimuine trained with the rest of squad, while Nekundi trained alone. The team also practised penalties, as they sought to erase the ghost of Saturday where two players missed crucial penalties.
The coach said he would rather have the trio fit and up running for the final match on Saturday as he was confident of winning against South Africa on Tuesday.
Mannetti told this agency he had initially planned to use Peter Shalulile and Benson Shilongo as his strikers in the tournament, but the duo could not join the camp as they suffered injuries while playing for their clubs.
“Now we have our two top strikers in the country out with injuries and this leaves us thin upfront. I will have to use Touches (Absalom Iimbondi) as a back-up striker,” he added.
While bemoaning the absence of the trio, the coach said this also presents an opportunity to other players to lift their hands and be counted as he will use the tournament to prepare for Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers which resume in September, with a date against Zambia.
Maximillian Mbaeva will keep goal, while Vitapi Ngaruka, Teberius Lombard, Charles Hambira and Ananias Gebhardt complete the defence.
Denzil Haoseb has been pushed into midfield along with Marcel Papama and Captain Ronald Ketjijere.
Riaan Hanamub will play as a left winger, with Gome playing support striker to Deon Hoto.
The Brave Warriors face neighbours South Africa on Tuesday at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
The match will kick off at 17h00.
Starting 11: Max Mbaeva, Vitapi Ngaruka, Ananias Gebhardt, Teberius Lombard, Charles Hambira, Ronald Ketjijere, Denzel Haoseb, Marcel Papama, Riaan Hanamub, Wangu Batista Gome, and Deon Hoto.