By Lolade Adewuyi in Calabar
Namibia coach Bernard Kaanjuka has said that his team are in Nigeria to begin the fruitful process of picking up a 2014 World Cup ticket when they file out to play against the Super Eagles in Calabar on Sunday.
Making reference to Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and the recent string of friendly losses to Egypt and Peru, the Brave Warriors’ trainer believes that his team has a psychological edge on the Eagles going into the game at the U.J Esuene Stadium.
The team is also taking strength from the fact that they drew 0-0 with reigning African champions Zambia earlier in the year.
“We drew against a team that won the Africa Cup of Nations, we don’t mind about Nigeria. Sunday will tell,” Kaanjuka told Goal.com.
“I’m not comparing my team to the Super Eagles but we’re here to qualify for the World Cup.
“We’re going to play against 12 players, the team plus the spectators. It’s a small stadium so their voices will be louder and hotter than a big stadium. But my players don’t fear this anymore because they have been playing under a lot of big spectators too in other countries.
“As you can see they’re very young but they don’t fear anybody anymore. Their fear stage is over, this is competition stage.”
Kaanjuka has only been in charge of the squad for nine months as they seek for their first major competition ticket after last playing at the 2008 Afcon in Ghana, where they lost all three matches.
“This is a completely new team started about five years ago from the Under-17. They graduated to the U20, U23 and now they’re in the national team. They’ve been playing together for a long time.
“There are about four experienced players but a lot of them are from the youth development,” said Kaanjuka.
The southern Africans, who were camped in Germany to acclimatise for the hot, humid weather that Nigeria will present them with, will look to the unprecedented feat of neighbours Zambia who won this year’s Afcon against big guns Cote d’Ivoire.
“When Zambia was playing in Gabon, all of us were Zambians in Namibia. We were supporting them because we are neighbours,” Kaanjuka said.
The Brave Warriors will be looking to surprise their more established opponents during Sunday’s game.
The fact that his players are unknown to the Nigerians is a factor that Kaanjuka thinks can work in his favour.
“What did your team play against Rwanda? A draw, who says we cannot do that here? Remember that this is Africa.”