Namibia head coach Collin Benjamin says the Premier Soccer League influence in their squad cannot be ignored ahead of facing South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Namibia heads into the game after a historic first win at the finals of the competition and knows another three points will secure a place in the last-16.
Something that seemed unfathomable a couple of months ago with the Namibian Premier League having a three-year hiatus at one point.
Seven of their 23-man squad ply their trade in the top two tiers of South African football and Benjamin admits it’s a case of the smaller brother looking to make a statement.
“Of course, we can’t dispute that, it’s the truth, it’s there on paper, and the South African league, not only for Namibian players, is an integral part but also for Africans as a whole,” he said.
“The set-up, the resources is huge, it’s unmatched on the continent, so it’s true that South Africa is a powerhouse and with that said, this player you mentioned want to show the big brother or uncles that are housing them that you’re doing something good.
“That’s why we saying you’re good, you’re favourites, normally you said be winning the World Cup.”
Benjamin went on to state that South Africa are favourites to win the game and should be ranked up there as genuine contenders for the title due to the history, financial capabilities and infrastructure, something he’s praised several times in the past.
His side has camped and used facilities in South Africa during his tenure, with stadiums in Namibia not up to CAF standards, leading them on several occasions to Dobsonville, Soweto where they secured a place at AFCON using the arena as their home venue.
“We’re facing South Africa, interesting game, there are so many parallels to the countries, I’m still of the opinion that South Africa is a powerhouse in Africa, they are the favourite [for this game],” Benjamin said.
“They have everything you need to win this tournament and yeah it’s not going to be easy for us but we’re looking forward to the game.
“We know South Africa has good players and are capable of playing that high-intensity game, the bulk of the team is made up of a team who play that high pressing game, good on the ball etc, so that DNA is definitely in there.
“For us, it’s always been about managing our transitions, with and without the ball and then using our strengths, we’re prepared.”
The two sides meet in Korhogo on Sunday evening at the Le Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly (22h00).