Namibia won the Cosafa Cup for the first time in their history, beating Mozambique 2-0 in the final in the South African mining village of Moruleng. Namibia’s victory in the Cosafa Cup might be the portent of bigger and better things to come. However, Coach Ricardo Mannetti warns there is no automatic guarantee of qualification for the next Africa Cup of Nations finals.
The lowly ranked Namibians came through the first round stages to produce a giant-killing upset and win the southern African championship, knocking out two former champions along the way. Both countries went into the match as past runners-up, with Namibia reaching the final in 1997 and 1999 and Mozambique in 2008.
Earlier in the day, Madagascar won the third place play-off match by beating semi-finalists Botswana 2-1 to take the bronze medal. The two teams went into the match looking to shake off defeats in the semifinals at the same venue, Barea going down to Namibia and the Zebras being mauled by the Mambas of Mozambique. SarivahyVombola scored both of Madagascar’s goals and finished as the 2015 tournament’s top scorer with five goals to his name.
Pacey winger Deon Hotto proved the hero of the match with both goals as Namibia claimed a first ever Southern African title on Saturday. His goals meant Namibia won the Cosafa trophy for the first time, some 16 years after their last appearance in the final. They came through the first round of group matches reserved for the lowest eight ranked teams, including thrashing four-time winners Zimbabwe 4-1 in their last group game.
On the other hand, Mannetti ensures everyone in the club that the euphoria to be in Africa Cup of Nation must be tempered.
“Let’s not lie about it, let’s be honest, the last time Namibia qualified for the Nations Cup was in 2008. Before that, was ’98, when I was a player. You can see there have been very long intervals. I don’t want anyone to put pressure on this team. I’m still at work. This team is still not there,” he said.
It seems that the coach learned about his experience during his career as a player and cautiously aware to prevent unwanted things to be happened to the club. “Yes, we’ve won the Cosafa Cup but as a coach I know there is still much to do. I know what it takes to go away and get a result in a Senegal or a Niger.”