Benjamin optimistic despite opening loss in African World Cup qualifiers

The coach of the senior national football team, Collin Benjamin, has expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance against Equatorial Guinea despite not earning any points.

His focus is now on their upcoming match on Tuesday.

The 2026 International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) African World Cup qualifiers kicked off last week, with Namibia having their opening match away from home against Equatorial Guinea. Namibia is drawn in Group H, along with Equatorial Guinea, Tunisia, Malawi, Liberia, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

In their opening match of the campaign on 15 November 2023, in Equatorial Guinea, the Namibian team lost by a single goal, placing them fifth with zero points in the group of six teams.

In an interview with Nampa, Benjamin said their opening match of the World Cup qualifying campaign started well, with players displaying commitment and discipline.

‘We missed out on scoring opportunities, which eventually led to our opponents winning that game against us. Despite this, the
team had good organisation, and the boys had the right attitude and were fit enough to deal with the humid weather,’ he said.

Going into their next match on Tuesday against São Tomé and Príncipe, Benjamin stated that they are aware they will not be able to reach their target of collecting four points from their opening matches, but they will fight for every point.

‘Players in the team are still fighting for positions in the squad for the African Nations Cup that will be held in Ivory Coast in January 2024. But despite that, we are working towards positive results and are also focusing on giving young players a chance to gain experience,’ Benjamin said.

The Brave Warriors coach also said that in their match against Equatorial Guinea, Uetuuru Kambato got a chance to play, but it was evident that he needed time on the international level. On the other hand, Ivan Kamberipa did very well on the right back after Ryan Nyambe was rested.

The coach acknowledged that the team had some negatives in their opening mat
ch of the World Cup qualifiers, such as conceding a goal and allowing too many set-pieces in their last half. However, he is happy with the mental wellness of his players, and said losing the game would not hamper their targets going forward.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

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