Namibia are set to enter just their fourth-ever Africa Cup of Nations this January and their first since Ghana 2008. The nation is down in 115th in the FIFA World Rankings and huge outsiders for this tournament. Nevertheless, let's take a deeper look at their prospects in this Namibia AFCON 2023 preview.
How did Namibia qualify for AFCON 2023?
Namibia qualified by the slightest of margins for AFCON 2023. They ended up sitting just one point ahead of Burundi, despite losing in the second H2H clash of the campaign. However, a loss for the latter against Cameroon on the final matchday ensured Namibia made it to these finals.
Namibia managed to stun Cameroon en route to finishing second in Group C of qualifying, and with a 1-1 draw against the five-time champions too, Namibia left the qualifying stage with only one loss, two draws and a sole victory. Group C also saw just four games each be played, as Kenya were disqualified by FIFA.
Namibia AFCON 2023 Preview
Who will Namibia play at AFCON 2023?
Namibia are by far the lowest ranked side in their group, and the nation has been pitted against Mali, Tunisia and South Africa.
The 2004 champions will be expected to finish top of Group E with them all the way up in 28th of the FIFA World Rankings, four higher than their previous spot pre-November.
Ever since hosting the 2010 World Cup, things have been bleak for South Africa. They failed to qualify for AFCON in 2021 and 2017, although they managed to get to the quarter-finals in 2019. They also haven't been to a World Cup since qualifying as hosts.
Mali have some excellent talent on display, and Yves Bissouma, Mohamed Camera, Cheick Doucoure and Amadou Haidara make up arguably the best midfield at the competition.
How far will Namibia go?
It would be nothing short of a miracle to see Namibia make it past the group stages. All three of their opposing teams sit so far higher than them in the FIFA World Rankings and come into the finals with a much smoother qualification process. In truth, Namibia will be fortunate just to get a handful of goals, never mind win a game.
Namibia – Predicted AFCON 2023 XI
Lloyd Kazapua is the main keeper for Namibia and will likely start each of these games.
Derby County's Ryan Nyambe will likely start at right-back alongside the country's current most capped player, Denzil Haoseb. Ananias Gebhardt and Kennedy Amutenya usually take up the centre-back roles.
Absalom Limbondi has a decent record of seven goals in 56 caps from midfield, and he will feature here. Dynamo Fredericks and Joslin Kamatuka usually make up a midfield trio, with the latter boasting of a solid tally of three goals in 23 caps.
Peter Shalulile scored four times in qualifcation to take his tally to 16 in 49 caps for Namibia, and he will be the first name on the teamsheet alongside 10-goal man, Deon Hotto, who also has 65 caps to his name. Bethuel Muzeu should take up the third and final spot up front.