Ricardo Mannetti says COSAFA Cup quarterfinal opponents Zambia are well known to him after their recent clash in the African Nations Championship finals and he expects an open contest on Saturday.
The heavyweight duo clash in the knockout stage at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday (kick-off 15h00 local time; 13h00 GMT) in what will be an eagerly-awaited fixture.
“Zambia is a familiar team for us. We just played them at CHAN and will also play them in the African Nations Cup qualifiers,” Mannetti says. “I think it will be a very open game. It’s a derby and we want to win the tournament, but for now we are just focussing on Zambia.
“Beating them will mean that we are in the semifinals and it will also mean that we continue the psychological superiority that we have over them, which will be especially advantageous going into the Nations Cup qualifiers in September.
“So this is much more important than just a quarterfinal match at the COSAFA Cup – it goes a long way in terms of our qualifiers, the psychological edge and so on. So it’s a very important game for Namibia.”
Mannetti is hesitant to suggest his Namibian side can repeat their 2015 COSAFA Cup triumph, and says all their focus is rather on beating Zambia on Saturday.
Namibia have lost only one of their last seven encounters with Zambia across various competitions and drew 1-1 at CHAN earlier in the year.
“I don’t want to talk about winning the title at this stage, we need to talk about beating Zambia. When we went to the CHAN tournament it was always for me all about winning our first game, so that’s the same now.
“We don’t want to be in the Plate section, we want a repeat of 2015, but my experience tells me, as a coach, you can’t talk like a fan, you can’t just say we will win it, I’m not God, I’m not a witch doctor, I’m not a fortune teller, but all I can say is that we need to beat Zambia and I’m positive that, looking at our record against Zambia, and if we prepare well, things will go for us and we can get the edge over them.”