AFCON 2019: Why Namibia are the most underrated team in group D

Namibia will be heading to the AFCON competition fully aware that they are in one of the toughest groups in the tournament. Namibia are in group D together with Ivory Coast, Morocco, and South Africa.

Namibia, commonly known as the Brave warriors seems to the weakest in the group as they will have to show their bravery against three sides that have won the elite trophy at least once.

Why are these three teams a threat to Namibia?

Ivory Coast

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Having stamped their regular presence in the World Cup since 2006 and having won the African trophy twice since its inception with the latest being in 2005, the team is generally considered to be one of the best African teams of the last decade. This is also confirmed by FIFA Ranking in the reference period, never having been so high for Les Elephants.

Less Elephants will also be bragging of their stars Nicolas Pepe and Wilfried Zaha. Pepe plays for the French side Lille and while Zaha plays for the Premier League side Crystal Palace.

Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohouo (TP Mazembe/COD), Tape Ira (San Pedro), Ali Badra (Free State Stars/RSA)

Defenders: Serge Aurier (Tottenham/ENG), Mamadou Bagayoko (Red Star/FRA), Cheikh Comara (Wydad Casablanca/MAR), Wonlo Coulibaly (ASEC Mimosas), Souleymane Doumbia (Rennes/FRA), Wilfried Kanon (ADO The Hague/NED), Ismaël Traore (Angers/FRA)

Midfielders: Victorian Angban (Metz/FRA), Serey Die (Neuchatel Xamax/SUI), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Mainz/GER), Franck Kessie (AC Milan/ITA), Ibrahim Sangare (Toulouse/FRA), Jean-Michaël Seri (Fulham/ENG)

Forwards: Roger Assale (Young Boys Bern/SUI), Wilfried Bony (unattached), Maxwel Cornet (Lyon/FRA), Max-Alain Gradel (Toulouse/FRA), Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa/ENG), Nicolas Pepe (Lille/FRA), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace/ENG)

South Africa 

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South Africa (Bafana Bafana) have also been regular participants of the AFCON tournament though did not feature in 2017 competitions. But Bafana Bafana have managed to lift the trophy once, in 1996 at home and were also the first African team to host the FIFA World Cup when they were granted host status for the 2010 edition.

Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Girona/ESP), Mounir el Kajoui (Malaga/ESP), Reda Tagnaouti (Wydad Casablanca)

Defenders: Yunis Abdelhamid (Reims/FRA), Medhi Benatia (Al-Duhail/QAT), Manuel da Costa (Al Ittihad/KSA), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce/TUR), Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Noussair Mazraoui (Ajax/NED), Romain Saiss (Wolves/ENG)

Midfielders: Karim el Ahmadi (Ittihad/KSA), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray/TUR), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Saint-Etienne/FRA), Mehdi Bourabia (Sassuolo/ITA), Mbark Boussoufa (Al Shabab/KSA), Faycal Fajr (Caen/FRA)

Forwards: Nordin Amrabat, Abderrazak Hamdallah (both Al Nassr/KSA), Sofiane Boufal (Celta Vigo/ESP), Khalid Boutaib (Zamalek/EGY), Osama Idrissi (Alkmaar/NED), Youssef En-Nesyri (Leganes/ESP), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax/NED)

Morocco

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Morocco have appeared in the AFCON 16 times and have also managed to lift the trophy once in 1976. They have finished fourth twice, finished third once and were the runners-up in 2004.

They were the first African team to win a group at the World Cup, which they did in 1986, finishing ahead of Portugal, Poland, and England. They were also the first African team to make it to the second round, barely losing to eventual runners-up West Germany 1–0 in 1986.

Morocco are also blessed to have sensational attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech. Ziyech currently plays for the Dutch side Ajax and he is known for his finishing, dribbling, speed, technique and free kick ability.

Ziyech scored 2 goals in their 3-2 defeat to Zambia on Sunday where he scored all the equalizing goals for Morocco before Zambia scored their winning goal in the 74th minute.

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Goalkeepers: Loydt Kazapua (Maccabi/RSA), Maximilian Mbaeva (Golden Arrows/RSA), Ratanda Mbazuvara (African Stars)

Defenders: Ananias Gebhardt (Baroka/RSA), Charles Hambira (Tura Magic), Riaan Hanamub (Jomo Cosmos/RSA), Danzil Haoseb (Highlands Park/RSA), Ivan Kamberipa (African Stars), Ryan Nyambe (Blackburn Rovers/ENG)

Midfielders: Ronald Ketjijere, Marcel Papama (both African Stars), Willy Stephanus, Petrus Shitembi (both Lusaka Dynamos/ZAM), Dynamo Fredericks (Black Africa), Larry Horaeb (Tura Magic), Deon Hotto (Bidvest Wits/RSA), Absalom Iimbondi (United Africa Tigers), Joslyn Kamatuka (Cape Umoya Utd/RSA)

Forwards: Isaskar Gurirab (Life Fighters), Iitamunua Keimuine (Dire Dawa City/ETH), Peter Shalulile (Highlands Park/RSA), Benson Shilongo (Ismaily/EGY), Manfred Starke (Jena/GER)

Namibia

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Namibia, on their part, have made two appearances in the AFCON competition, both times being bundled out in the first round. In 1998, Namibia lost to Ivory Coast 4–3 and drew Angola 3–3 before losing to South Africa 4–1. In 2008, Namibia lost to Morocco 5–1 and to Ghana 1–0 but drew Guinea 1–1 in their last match.

In all their AFCON appearances, the Brave Warriors have played against all the teams within the AFCON 2019 group D. Unfortunately, they have been thrashed by their opponents, denying them the chance to proceed to the second round.

Goalkeepers: Loydt Kazapua (Maccabi/RSA), Maximilian Mbaeva (Golden Arrows/RSA), Ratanda Mbazuvara (African Stars)

Defenders: Ananias Gebhardt (Baroka/RSA), Charles Hambira (Tura Magic), Riaan Hanamub (Jomo Cosmos/RSA), Danzil Haoseb (Highlands Park/RSA), Ivan Kamberipa (African Stars), Ryan Nyambe (Blackburn Rovers/ENG)

Midfielders: Ronald Ketjijere, Marcel Papama (both African Stars), Willy Stephanus, Petrus Shitembi (both Lusaka Dynamos/ZAM), Dynamo Fredericks (Black Africa), Larry Horaeb (Tura Magic), Deon Hotto (Bidvest Wits/RSA), Absalom Iimbondi (United Africa Tigers), Joslyn Kamatuka (Cape Umoya Utd/RSA)

Forwards: Isaskar Gurirab (Life Fighters), Iitamunua Keimuine (Dire Dawa City/ETH), Peter Shalulile (Highlands Park/RSA), Benson Shilongo (Ismaily/EGY), Manfred Starke (Jena/GER)

 

 

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