Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Namibia coach – we want to shock Bafana

'There’s always something in the air when it’s Namibia versus South Africa,' said the Namibia head coach.

Namibia are determined to cause a shock at Orlando Stadium on Saturday when they take on their noisy neighbours Bafana Bafana in an international friendly.

Both sides have far more important matches on the horizon, with Fifa World Cup qualifiers coming up in November.

Bafana have already qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals, while Namibia also have a great chance of making it to the Ivory Coast next year, though they are slightly dependent on what happens in a qualifier between Cameroon and Burundi on Tuesday.

The Brave Warriors did pick up a remarkable Afcon qualifying victory over Cameroon in their last visit to Soweto, Collin Benjamin’s side winning 2-1 at Dobsonville Stadium in March (Namibia did not have a ground at home that met Caf requiremenrs), .

Mamelodi Sundowns striker Peter Shalulile was among the goalscorers, and while he is injured and out of their squad for today’s game, Namibia will be confident they can still cause plenty of problems for South Africa.

“There’s always something in the air when it’s Namibia versus South Africa,” said Benjamin, according to the Namibian newspaper.

“We want to upset the big brother. We’re delighted that we’re going to have a game of this magnitude, with South Africa bringing their strongest possible squad.”

Orlando Pirates’ Deon Hotto will be Namibia’s star man in attack, in the absence of Shalulile. He comes into the game fresh off the back of his first goal of the season for the Buccaneers, the winner in Sunday’s 2-1 MTN8 semifinal, first leg triumph at Stellenbosch FC.

Playing on his home ground, and almost certainly against some of his Buccaneers teammates, should give extra motivation for Hotto to perform well against Bafana.

Bafana’s potent attack

Still, Bafana, as Benjamin mentioned, have a good squad of players, with their attack looking especially dangerous. Lyle Foster is in excellent form for Burnley, Lebo Mothiba has had a fine start to the season at Strasbourg and Mihlali Mayambela has helped Aris Limmasol qualify for the group stages of the Uefa Europa League.

Bafana have won five and drawn two of their matches since September 2022, discounting the Cosafa Cup, and including impressive Afcon qualifying wins in Liberia and at home to Morocco.

They will not want that run to end against Namibia, however much more important other games are down the line.

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