THE Young Warriors ran out of steam against Angola in Luanda on Wednesday when surrendering their lead to lose the Under-23 Africa Cup Nations first leg penultimate round qualifier 2-1.
Gonzales Tsuseb put Namibia ahead with 58 minutes on the clock inside the sparsely populated 11 de Novembro Stadium.
However, the hosts equalised through Camilo Mbule Ngongue ‘Bito’ five minutes later, before Domingos Sengue ‘Picas’ grabbed the winner with 20 minutes left to secure a slender first leg advantage for Angola.
“We couldn’t really settle in. The Angolans are a very good team technically. Through that technical quality they could overpower us tactically,” Young Warriors head coach Collin Benjamin said in a video interview posted on the Namibia Football Association’s social media pages.
“I still think we had a chance, especially when we went into the lead. But then match fitness came into play where it was a bit of a disadvantage for us,” he said.
“It’s only a matter of experience, you can obviously see the match fitness gave them the edge.
But nonetheless, we’ll go back to the drawing board and see what it is that we did wrong, analyse that and try to get that right in the next game.”
The contest is far from over, Benjamin said.
He believes that with a bit more gusto and bravery, the Young Warriors can turn the tables on their rivals in the second leg set for the same venue tomorrow afternoon.
“What we need is a little bit more guts, more energy, the mentality has to be right. I think the boys, under the circumstances, did what they could. We’ll come out blazing, we need that energy,” said Benjamin, who does not agree that playing their home tie in Angola disadvantages his side.
Namibia’s national teams will continue to play home ties on foreign soil, until such time that the country upgrades its stadiums to acceptable international standards.
“The strength of the crocodile lies in the river. We’re not in our river, these are the circumstances but we’re definitely going to take the game to them,” Benjamin declared.