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    APA-Windhoek (Namibia)

    Namibia is confident and mentally prepared to face Mozambique in crucial 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers away in Maputo on Saturday and at home on 16 October, according to national coach Riccardo Mannetti.

    The Brave Warriors coach has challenged his charges to change their mentality when playing away.

    “As we all know, we have struggled in the past when it comes to away matches so I have really put a lot of emphasis on talking to the boys because Mozambique is really a very difficult place to go to as the humidity, the weather and the fans are very intimidating,” Mannetti told journalists ahead of the match.

    He said the Brave warriors need to win the two matches to reach their 10-points target to qualify the Afcon finals next year in Cameroon.

    “We need to fight more, we need to press more and we need to be ready for whatever Mozambique throw at us. If we can do that then we can come back home and plan accordingly as well. Our priority now should be the away game which can be huge for us in terms of how we go forward as a team mentally,” he explained.

    Mannetti earlier announced a 26 man squad departed for Maputo on Thursday, from their camp, but was trimmed to 23 at the last minute due to injuries.

    They travelled without goalkeeper Ratanda Mbazuvara of African Stars, Serbia-based Hendrick Somaeb and the Ethiopia-based Itamunua Keimuine.

    “Somaeb has been struggling with injury of late, trying to get to full fitness and this time he’s out. Itamunua is missing due to lack of proper connections from his town to fly over to Johannesburg in time for our training camp. We therefore take 23 players to Maputo and the objective remain the same to get a result away from home,” the coach explained.

    The team will return home on Sunday to prepare for the return-leg in Windhoek on Tuesday night at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.

    Namibia will next play against Guinea Bissau between 12-20 Novembers before their final encounter in Group K against Zambia in March 2019.



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