Namibian national team coach Ricardo Mannetti says the team’s qualification to AfCON 2019 following a 4-1 loss to Zambia in the final match, was an act of God.
MannettI narrated that he prayed to God to stop the Zambian national soccer team from scoring further and embarrassing his national team, adding that he had lost hope of qualifying following the humbling experience.
He said Namibia would go to the AfCON as underdogs and will endeavour to work on emotional maturity of the players prior to the continental tournament.
“If I was told that my team was going to be beaten 4-1 by Zambia and still qualify, I was not going to believe it. But to God be the glory, I do not understand what happened here but I think God came through for us. He works in mysterious ways and I still do not understand how we qualified having being hammered 4-1. We were massacred here in Zambia by a very, very good team, we were not poor but the Zambia were very clinical in how they approached the box and I think three of those goal came from what happened in the box. I think Namibia will be a better team at AfCON. We will prepare better. But God came through for this one. I was almost fired in the first games, they said there is no hope here. But then we started improving and everybody was surprised,”he said.
“And being hammered here 4-1 doesn’t make me a bad coach, it makes the Namibian project good. The performance I saw today, the Zambians kept on going from fourth gear, fifth gear sixth gear, seventh gear, I’m checking the time and I almost told the coach to stop the massacre. Stop now coach it’s enough. I hope that by the time we get to AfCON we will have the chance to work on emotional maturity of the players. They were easily distracted because of emotions. So we go to the AfCON as underdogs and I hope we will be paired with fellow underdogs.”
Meanwhile Zambia’s national team interim coach Aggrey Chiyangi said the country should go back to the drawing board to plan properly for the next matches.
“For me and the team we are very disappointed because things already happened, this is a game we were just playing to get a positive result. What is important for now is for stakeholders to know what the future holds for Zambia. Because two AfCON tournaments concurrently is not a small thing for our country. We need to plan very well from now. When you have patience, things start to work.”