Brave Warriors Storm Into Final

Namibia’s Brave Warriors stormed into the Cosafa Cup final after a thrilling 3-2 victory against Madagascar on Thursday.

Man of the match Benson Shilongo scored a brace and Peter Shalulile Namibia’s winning goal, while Vombola Sarivahy scored a brace for Madagascar.

In an explosive first half, Benson Shilongo opened the scoring on 17 minutes when he bundled in a cross by Petrus Shitembi, but Madagascar took the lead after two atrocious defensive blunders within four minutes.

First Chris Katjiukua completely mis-kicked a high ball to let Sarivahy through for his first goal and then a near-identical blunder by Denzil Haoseb saw Sarivahy pouncing for his second goal.

Namibia however showed great resolve to bounce back and Shilongo scored his second goal when he volleyed home Deon Hotto’s cross into the box.

The pace slackened down in the second half but Namibia still did most of the attacking. Shalulile threatened early on when he shot wide after being put clear into the box by Shilongo, while the latter was also a constant thorn in Madagascar’s defence.

He first hit the side-netting after breaking clear of Madagascar’s defence and then had a shot blocked.

Shalulile missed a great chance on 63 minutes when he blasted Ananias Gebhart’s cross wide with an open goal gaping, but Namibia continued to press on with a shot by Hotto being saved, while a long range effort by Wangu Gome flew over the bar.

Shilongo and Shalulile exchanged some quick passes to put Hotto clear but his shot went over the bar.

Namibia’s winner finally came on 83 minutes when Shalulile redeemed himself with a great goal.

Petrus Shitembi started the attack, crossing into the box to Shilongo who controlled the ball before Shalulile slammed it high into the net.

In the closing stages Hotto had a cracking shot saved and after four minutes of extra time Namibia could finally start celebrating when the final whistle went.

Namibian coach Ricardo Mannetti couldn’t contain his excitement after the match.

“I love you Namibia, I love you, thanks for your support! Madagascar were not easy and I told my players not to underestimate them but I knew we had the winning mentality. We made some blunders but I told my players at halftime that all players make mistakes and that must not define them as a player. I told them we are winners and I am so impressed with the character they showed,” he said.

Madagascar’s coach. Franck Rajaonarisamba was gracious in defeat, saying that Namibia deserved to win.

“Congratulations to Namibia, they deserve it. We couldn’t create chances in the second half, we tried our best, but I think the players were too tired,” he said.

Namibia will now play Mozambique in the final on Saturday tomorrow afternoon after they beat Botswana 2-1 in the second semifinal on Thursday night.

The final will kick off at 16h30 Namibian time and will be preceded by the third place play-off at 14h00.

Source : The Namibian