Brave Warriors tackle Liberia

Only eight of Liberia's 23-man squad are based outside of the country as new coach Mario Marinica has overhauled the team.
Jesse Kauraisa
After their heroics in getting to the last 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in January, the Tafel Lager Brave Warriors now turn their sights to World Cup qualification and their clash with Liberia at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto today (kick-off 6pm).

Namibia, forced to move all home games after their stadiums in Windhoek were not passed for use in the World Cup qualifiers by the Confederation of African Football, have a 100% record in Group H campaign after their opening two fixtures last November.

Although they lost away to Equatorial Guinea in their first match, they have been awarded a 3-0 victory after FIFA had ruled that Equatorial Guinea used a defaulter in their opening two matches.

FIFA has ruled that Emilio Nsue, the top scorer at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, was never eligible to play for Equatorial Guinea throughout his 11-year international career. The 34-year-old has played more than 40 games and scored 23 goals for the country, including the 1-0 winner against Namibia which has now been overturned.

Namibia also beat Sao Tome e Principe away in November and so go into the third round of matches top of the table, ahead of favourites Tunisia on goal difference.

Only the group winner will qualify for the 20265 World Cup finals, being co-hosted by Canada, Mexico and the USA.

Liberia also benefitted from the FIFA ruling after losing at home to both Malawi and Equatorial Guinea in their opening two qualifiers in Monrovia. But they now have three points, even if their start to the campaign was far from convincing.

But Namibia coach Collin Benjamin has more pressing concerns, notably over the fitness of his star striker Peter Shalulile, who missed last Saturday’s Nedbank Cup final.

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena said he had picked up a “freak injury” in training on the eve of the match against Orlando Pirates in Nelspruit, where Deon Hotto finished on the winning side.

Missing from Namibia’s side is Ananias Gebhardt, competing in the Premier Soccer League playoffs with Baroka but having last month announced his retirement from international football, and the England-based fullback Ryan Nyambe, who is injured.

The Brave Warriors played a friendly encounter against Lesotho in Soweto on Saturday with Erastus Kalula opening the scoring in the second half, but Lesotho then equalising for a 1-1 draw.

Liberia arrived in Johannesburg on Sunday with a squad that has undergone change after they scraped through against Djibouti over two legs in March in the preliminary round qualifiers for the 2025 Cup of Nations finals in Morocco.

Only eight of the 23-man squad are based outside of Liberia as new coach Mario Marinica, who was appointed in February and formerly led Malawi, has overhauled the team.

It will be the fifth time that Liberia and Namibia meet, with one win apiece and two goalless draws.


Goalkeepers: Loydt Kazapua (Chippa United, RSA), Jonas Mateus (Ongos), Kamaijanda Ndisiro (African Stars).

Defenders: Arend Abubakir (Blue Waters), Paulus Amutenya (Unam), Erasmus Ikeinge (Khomas Nampol), Charles Hambira (African Stars), Riaan Hanamub (AmaZulu, RSA), Edmund Kambanda (African Stars), Ivan Kamberipa (Orapa United), Tjipee Karuoombe (Unam), Tuli Nashixwa (Tigers).

Midfielders: Lawrence Doeseb, Fares Haidula (both Chula Chula), Deon Hotto (Orlando Pirates, RSA), Erastus Kalula (Blue Waters), Edmar Kamatuka (Sekhukhune United, RSA), Romeo Kasume (Matebele, Botswana), Punaije Katjimune (Unam), Ndjiraera Maharero (African Stars), Rikambura Muundjua (Young African), Ben Namib (Khomas Nampol), David Ndeunyema (Blue Waters), Aprocius Petrus (Cape Town City), Moses Shidolo (Chula Chula).

Forwards: Betheul Muzeu (Black Leopards, RSA), McCartney Nawaseb (Matebele, Botswana), Gonzales Tsubeb (Police XI), Kleophas Uiseb (Orapa).

Namibia head-to-head record with Liberia

11 Jan 1997 in Windhoek Drew 0-0 (FIFA World Cup q) manager Rusten Mogane

08 Jun 1997 in Monrovia Won 2-1 (FIFA World Cup q) manager Peter Ueberjahn

[Goal scorers: Eliphas Shivute (36th), Gervatius Uri-Khob (80th)]

29 Feb 2012 in Monrovia Lost 0-1 (Afcon q) manager Bernard Kaanjuka

16 Jun 2012 in Windhoek Drew 0-0 (Afcon q) manager Bernard Kaanjuka

Overall: Played 4, won 1, lost 1, drawn 2.