In the aftermath of Namibia’s challenging encounter against South Africa in the TotalEnergies AFCON 2023 tournament, Coach Collin Benjamin addressed the media with a resilient spirit, emphasizing the team’s determination to progress beyond the group stage despite a disheartening 4-0 defeat.
The match, held at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo, Ivory Coast on 21st January 2024 at 20h00, took an unfortunate turn for the Tafel Lager Brave Warriors as South Africa secured an early lead through a penalty within the first 13 minutes.
Acknowledging the setback, Coach Benjamin said “Conceding a penalty like that within the first minutes killed the game; our transitions and second balls.”
Focusing on the positive aspects of the game, Benjamin highlighted the team’s commendable efforts in creating scoring opportunities despite the challenging circumstances.
“Good chances were created; after the penalty, Hotto, Iimbondi, and Shalulile all had a chance to change the game, a show of character which proves the team is still alive,” he stated.
Describing the match as a valuable learning experience, Coach Benjamin expressed trust in the process and timing of this setback, which he said could work in favour of the Tafel Lager Brave Warriors.
“This match serves as a learning curve, which I think came at the right time because we still have a match [against Mali] at hand. As previously stated, there’s a lot to play for, and our dream is still alive.” he said.
Addressing concerns about the team’s sudden dip in performance, Coach Benjamin reassured, “The same team that had a magnificent match days ago cannot suddenly become bad. A scoreline like that obviously looks bad, but considering the content and the effort, hope is evident.”
Looking ahead, the coach emphasized the importance of maintaining the right mindset and approaching the next assignment against Mali with pride and determination.
The team has departed for San Pedro , where they will regroup and prepare for their crucial final group-stage match at the Laurent Pokou Stadium on the 24th January 2024, at 17:00.