Flames coach Ernest Mtawali is hoping to build on his charges’ confidence when the Flames play an international friendly against Cosafa Castle Cup defending champions and hosts Namibia at Sam Nujoma Stadium this evening.
Having lost the trust in fans back home following the 3-0 defeat to Zimbabwe in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group L qualifier, the Flames are aware that Cosafa Cup performance is the only way to restore the team’s image.
That process starts this evening when they fine-tune against the defending champions Namibia ahead of their Group B opening tie against Angola on Sunday.
“What happened in Harare is a lesson to us. But we will not let it affect our morale. We have another job to do here and we need to put behind what happened in that game and concentrate on the Cosafa Cup.
“After winning the Plate Section last year, it is our responsibility to make sure we achieve at least something bigger and better,” Mtawali said.
This evening the coach is expected to maintain the squad that played Zimbabwe with some slight changes with defender Miracle Gabeya replacing injured John Lanjesi while Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango is tipped to get the nod ahead of Peter Wadabwa to partner captain Chiukepo Msowoya upfront.
Msowoya said they are aware that they let down football fans back home and that the Namibia game would test the team’s ability to bounce back.
However, the Flames will be up against an experienced Namibia side that is beaming with confidence after beating Niger 1-0 last Sunday in a Group K Afcon qualifier.
Namibia coach Ricardo Manneti says they are not underrating the Flames.
He says the match will be a good test for the Namibians ahead of their title defence campaign.
“It will be a practice match for us and we need to give a chance to those who did not feature on Saturday.
“We need to test them and see how best to use all the players and it will be a great test for us because they [Flames] are a very tricky team.
“Against Zimbabwe they showed character and have a good team which can give us real test tomorrow [today].”