Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti is basking in having played and finally coach at Africa football showpiece, the African Cup of Nations and hunt for Namibia’s first win at the finals.
Mannetti says he relishes the full cycle of having played at the finals on 1998 and now returning as a coach in 2019.
” I came to this tournament in 1998 as a player, bringing our country for the first time to the tournament.We were inexperienced and rookies. Now I’m here coaching and that feeling is priceless and difficult to explain . I feel fortunate to have been here as a player and as a coach, not many people can do it”, Mannetti reveals.
Mannetti and his first assistant coach Ronnie Kananelo were part of the 1998 Namibia AFCON team that played in the same group as current foes South Africa and Ivory Coast.
Collin Benjamin also played at the AFCON finals in 2008 and now now returns as Mannetti’s second assistant coach.
The coach pays tribute to the Cosafa Football Region for the regular tournaments that have helped the regional team to qualify for AFCON this year.
“cosafa have a record of five teams at the finals this year and I started this journey about six years ago and the Cosafa Cup have given me as a young coach and my players the opportunity to grow and we finally here at our world cup. We now want people to take note of Namibia football”, states Mannetti.
Namibia will now play South Africa on Friday 27 June at 22h00 while Morocco will play Ivory Coast at 19h00, both games at the Al Salam Stadium. Morrocco and Ivory Coast won their opening games while the Cosafa derby between Namibia and South Africa will have no love lost.