Disappointed Warriors turns focus to Cosafa Cup and AFCON

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A disappointed Brave Warriors will focus on Tuesday’s Cosafa Plate Section semifinals as Ricardo Mannetti promises changes with plans for the 2019 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Nations Cup qualifiers against Zambia in September.

Reacting to his side’s 4-3 loss on penalties against Zambia on Saturday afternoon after a goalless draw, head coach Ricardo Mannetti sums up the outcome of the game.

“It is very sad to go out this way. After all the preparations that went so well. We also prepared very well for the shootout and unfortunately it did not pay off. Sometimes you need luck as well. We move on and plan for Tuesday semifinal, against either South Africa or Madagascar”, Mannetti states.

He adds all is not lost as they now have to fight for silverware in the Plate Section.

“We can’t become a bad team overnight after the team’s achievements over the past three years. We stumbled against Zambia on Saturday and we now go for the Plate. I will make a couple of changes as we look ahead to the AFCON qualifier hat now takes priority. We can still turn things around at Cosafa as well and the players understand that”, explains Mannetti, who won the Cup in 2015 and then the Plate in 2016 before losing in the Plate final in 2017.

On hosting Zambia in September in the Group K 2019 AFCON qualifier, Mannetti indicates that they have learned a lot from the recent games against Zambia.

“We have learned a lot from our latest engagement with Zambia and we will make the necessary changes accordingly for the big one in September. Our aim remains AFCON 2019 and we need to hit the ground running when he qualifiers resume in September”.

The Brave Warriors will host Zambia at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on the weekend of 8 September and then play the away and home matches against Mozambique on match-day three and four between 8-16 October 2018.

Match-day five, where Namibia host Guinea, who beat them 1-0 on match-day one in June this year, will be played between 12 and 20 November 2018 and the final qualifiers match-day six, will be played on 18-29 March 2019 as Namibia travels to Zambia.

Mozambique heads Group K with three points, with Guinea also on three in second place, followed by Namibia and Zambia on zero points after losing their opening games. The Group winner and runner-up will qualifier for the 2019 AFCON.

The 2019 AFCON finals will be the 32nd edition of the African Cup of Nations and will be hosted by Cameroon in June and July 2019 as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017 to move the Africa Cup of Nations from January/February to June/July for the first time. It will also be the first Africa Cup of Nations expanded from 16 to 24 teams.