Flames should brace for a stern challenge from Namibia’s Brave Warriors who have released a 24-member strong squad ahead of the March 23 World Cup Group F tie.
Namibia Football Federation website www.nfa.org.na on Monday reported that the Brave Warriors interim coach Bernard Kaanjuka included 10 foreign-based players for the match to take place at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium.
Flames too have summoned 10 foreign-based stars, but none of them is from Europe or outside Africa. In contrast, Namibia squad comprises Manfred Starke of Hansa Rostok (Germany); Lazarus Kaimbi and Tangeni Shipahu who both play for Thai Premier League side Osotspa.
The Brave Warriors’ other foreign-based players are Maritzburg United goalkeeper Virgil Vries; goalkeeper Ephraim Tjihonge who plays for South African First Division side Milano United; Amazulu defender Willem Mwedihanga; midfielders Ronald Ketjijere and Petrus Shitembi who both play for the University of Pretoria; and strikers Henrico Botes of Platinum Stars and Rudolf Bester of Orlando Pirates.
The towering Botes is in form and the Flames need to be wary of him.
Flames midfielder Robert Ng’ambi, teammate to the Namibian striker, on Tuesday admitted that it would be tough to contain Botes.
“He is enjoying good form here, but I believe we have defenders equal to the task. We [Ng’ambi and Botes] have in fact been arguing a lot about this game. I have no doubt it will be an exciting game from our perspective,” Ng’ambi said in a telephone interview.
Malawi go into this match with two points following draws with Kenya (0-0) and Nigeria (1-1). Namibia have three points after beating Kenya 1-0 in Windhoek and losing 1-0 to Nigeria. The Super Eagles lead the group on four points, and Kenya (one point) at the bottom.
The group qualifiers will be followed by a final round for five spots which are up for grabs for Africa at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.