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Players’ bonus must not be toyed with: Mannetti

WINDHOEK: Former Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti is optimistic about Namibia’s representation at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), if the team is well-prepared and fairly compensated.

The official draw for the 2023 Ivory Coast TotalEnergies Confederation of African Football (CAF) Afcon finals was held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast last week, with Namibia placed in Group E alongside neighbours South Africa, Mali, and Tunisia.

The tournament will be held in six venues across the Ivory Coast from 13 January to 11 February 2024, with Namibia based in the northern city of Korhogo.

In an interview with Nampa on Friday, Mannetti stated that the draw has many similarities to that of the 2019 group that Namibia last competed in at the Afcon finals in Egypt.

“The technical team includes Collin Benjamin and Ronny Kanalelo, who have been there before, and about 12 players who played at the 2019 Afcon are still in the squad. Mali replaces Ivory Coast from West Africa, while Tunisia replaces Morocco from North Africa, and South Africa remains in the same group as Namibia, as it was in 2019,” he said.

Mannetti believes that Namibia can give a better representation next year than it did in 2019 if everything is done according to the coach and technical team’s wishes.

“As we prepare for the upcoming competition, winning a game and surprising Group E is definitely possible, and I remain optimistic. However, it is crucial that we prioritise preparation and not take the hard work of our players for granted. They have worked tirelessly to secure our spot in this competition, and we must ensure that we do not compromise their bonuses if we want to compete at the highest level possible,” Mannetti said.

Mannetti, who has represented Namibia as a player and coach at Afcon, stated that in 2019, the team did not have good preparation therefore government and corporate Namibia should work hand in hand with the Namibia Football Association to financially support the team in preparing well for the competition.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency