Grounded Baby Warriors shift focus to Congo
The Baby Warriors will try to become the first ever local under-17 team to reach the 2017 CAF U/17 AFCON as they prepare to take on Congo Brazzaville on Saturday afternoon in the second round first leg match at the Independence Stadium.
Fresh from their Cosafa U/17 Championship triumph in Mauritius last weekend, the buoyant Baby Warriors arrived on Tuesday night to much fanfare and held a media briefing on Wednesday morning at Footfall House.
Team coach Timothy Tjongarero said the team’s success in Mauritius can be attributed to self-belief the boys had and to proper planning in the final three games of the competition.
“We started off well and then lost to South Africa badly and after that we agreed with the boys that we conceded soft goals and we needed to shape up and we did for our final group game. In the semifinals again, the boys showed character and hunger to win and in the final it was South Africa again. The boys said they wanted gold and so they went out and were yards away from South Africa in the first half and in the end got their gold”, Tjongarero explained, before focusing on the match at the weekend.
“ We play Congo on Saturday and match fitness-wise the boys are ready and we will try to a get positive result for the president as we wish him many more years to come” Tjongarero said in relation to Dr. Hage Geingob ‘s 75th birthday.
Team captain Dawid Morgan Jr indicated that despite being proud of their achievement on the island of Mauritius on Sunday, the focus now shift to making it to Madagascar 2017 for the continental finals.
“The boys worked very hard for the success we got and now we want to become the first team from Namibia to qualify for AFCON at this level as well. It won’t be easy but we will try to focus on the job at hand and get the best out of each other. We have a great understanding now after playing all this games and we can go far”, Morgan Jr said.
Barry Rukoro of the NFA told the media that the Association values education more that football and has an arrangement in place for the boys.
“We have arranged with Immanuel Shifidi Secondary for the boys to have some teachers over after their training sessions so that they cannot be left behind academically as well. For us it is to make parents understand that education and football can go together and we encourage these boys to take their education seriously especially now that they will start with exams soon”, Secretary General Rukoro stated.
The Baby Warriors will play Congo at 12h00 on Saturday, as part of the 2016 Dr. Hage Geingob Cup that starts at 14h00 with Tigers and Stars meeting and at 16h00, Sundowns and Pirates clash on foreign soil.
Tickets for the football bonanza are selling on Computicket for N$ 20 each and free transport is arranged at designated municipal bus stops in Windhoek to the Independence stadium on both Saturday and Sunday.