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Namibia vs Burundi – LIVE Reddit Soccer 04/06/2022

Namibia vs Burundi – LIVE Reddit Soccer 04/06/2022

The Orlando Stadium plays host to Namibia and Burundi on Saturday as the sides face off in their opening 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Drawn in Group C of the qualifying campaign, the teams are joined by Cameroon and Kenya in the battle to book a place in Ivory Coast next year. Off the back of a 1-0 defeat versus Togo in their final involvement of 2021, Namibia will take to the field for the first time since the turn of the year. Meme Placca’s strike in the dying embers of the aforementioned game was enough to decide a dead rubber World Cup qualifying contest in Johannesburg

Consequently, Bobby Samaria’s men have now been beaten for the third time in four matches and still boast just one win from their last eight outings. The Brave Warriors are in need of a pick-me-up as they kick off their quest to reach the AFCON finals for the first time since the 2019 edition in Egypt. Standing in the way is an opposing outfit with little to choose between the sides, are the previous two meetings have yielded 3-1 victories for either team. Burundi claimed a 2-1 victory over the Lone Stars of Liberia in their most recent fixture, which was a friendly on March 29 at the Mardan Sports Complex.

A first-half brace from Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana put Jimmy Ndayizeye’s men in the driving seat before Divine Teah halved the deficit in the early exchanges of the second period. Les Hirondelles have now snapped a run of five games without a win and will be looking to pick up where they left off during the last international break. Still in search of their maiden appearance at Africa’s biggest football showpiece, Saturday’s visitors set out to kick off their qualification journey on a positive note. Petrus Shitembi is back in action for Namibia after the midfielder spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a knee injury.

Peter Shalulile has scored each of his nation’s last two goals, and the 28-year-old is definitely one to look out for this weekend. Meanwhile, Tiberius Lombard and Manfred Starke will not play any part for the hosts as they are both unavailable due to personal reasons. Off the back of a brace in his last international outing, Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana will be looking to deliver the goods once again. Youssouf Ndayishimiye has not featured in any game since late March, and the 23-year-old remains out of contention for Burundi.

The Brave Warriors are hoping to return to the continental finals after last appearing in Egypt in 2019 and have set their sights on a place in the Ivory Coast next June.

They are in a three-team group after Kenya were disqualified due to their FIAF suspension, both enhancing Namibia’s chances but also limiting their scope for slip-ups.

They will therefore want maximum points at ‘Home’ to Burundi but have lost key star Joslin Kamatuka to a knee injury in the build-up to the game after he collided with a teammate in training and has been ruled out of the match.

“He was badly injured and won’t be able to take part,” Samaria says. “We have limited attacking options and Kamatuka has elements of a goal or two in him when you least expect it, but we equally believe in the abilities of the other forwards, and they will deliver as well.”

The good news is the return of skipper Petrus Shitembi, who plays in Malaysia with Terengganu FC.

The 30-year-old did not participate in the 2021 Cup of Nations qualifiers and played just once in the 2022 FIFA World Cup preliminaries but is back in the mix for the first time since 2019 to lend his considerable skill and experience.

Namibia have been in camp in Johannesburg since last week Wednesday, so will be well acclimatised. This is also the fourth time they will use South Africa as a ‘Home’ venue as their national stadium in Windhoek does not meet Confederation of African Football requirements.

Samaria is aware of the challenges facing his side but is confident they can get a positive result.

“I think Burundi will present challenges, but we need to be bigger than those and find football solutions to them,” he said. “They have improved in leaps and bounds and will certainly go flat out to try and reach their second Cup of Nations finals.

“Let us not be fooled by their world ranking [number 139] and we expect a very tactical game.”

Aside from the loss of Kamatuka, Samaria has also confirmed he absence of some other key players due to injury, while Ryan Nyambe asked to be withdrawn for personal reasons.

“We sadly had some withdrawals from the team with players like Wangu Gome and Obrey Amseb due to injuries sustained at their respective clubs. As much as the odds are stacked against us, we believe we have what it takes to put up a good fight.

The last time we saw these two teams, the results were almost extreme and both teams exchanged a victory. In this first match this year, we expect to see a win for Namibia, who have been the better team out of the two overall. Burundi are one of the lowest-ranked African national teams overall and they have never been considered a threat to most sides. Namibia will not get an easier chance to win three points and we expect a solid performance.

Our logic here is the same – Burundi will not get a better chance to win a match and although we do not expect them to succeed, we expect at least one goal. Their offense is far from good but Namibia do not have the greatest defense either. The level of both national teams is about the same as their level when they played the last time in 2016. Back then, both games ended in 1:3 for one of the teams. We expect a similar result.

Namibia do not have a strong squad when compared to the majority of other African nations. None of their players perform in any of the big European leagues, not even in the second divisions. The majority perform in African leagues and mostly in South Africa. With some luck, Namibia might contest for the second seed in the group but in order to do that, they need to go through Burundi.

Curiously, Burundi’s national team is ranked much lower than Namibia but their squad is actually much stronger when it comes to individual players. Several of their squad members perform in the United Kingdom – in England and in Ireland. Some even have experience in the Premier League. The expectations for Burundi are not big, however, and it will be surprising to see them win even a single match.

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