Russian Eleven wins Rememberance Match

The Russian Eleven football team won the third annual Remembrance Match against the Dream Team by four goals to three on penalties here on Saturday.

The match was played at a packed Katutura Youth Sports Complex football field by former Namibian footballers in remembrance to fallen teammates such as Abraham Goraseb, Doc Naonab, Five Oaeb, Om Ar Naomab and Bruce Gaingob for the Russian Eleven team, and Jacky Gamathan, Sebastian Murasha Williams and Oliver ‘ Ou Ram’ Swartz for the Dream Team.

The teams held each other to a two-all draw after 70 minutes of play, sending them to a penalty shoot-out.

Match organiser Leo Musati told Nampa earlier that the aim of the match was to pay homage to former football players, and to inspire the youth.

The match was preceded by a netball game and a football game by under-25s.

In netball, the Dream Team beat the Russian Eleven 19-11, while the Russian Eleven’s U-25 team beat the Dream Team’s U-25s by 1-0.

Musati said the first Remembrance match was played in 2012, and organisers decided to include netball and U-25 football in this year’s edition.

He told Nampa on the sidelines of the main match on Saturday that another aim of the match is to support the communities they come from, adding that they have plans to establish a charity organisation later on.

“Sometimes you go visit community members who lost loved ones and find that they do not have food. So, the money that we make here is to help out in cases like this,” he said.

Musati added that most importantly they want to see people have fun and keep the youngsters off the streets.

He stated they have plans to replace the U-25 match with an U-20 match next year in an effort to see the youngsters football skills improve and for such players to possibly be included in elite football.

The event does not have any sponsors, and Musati was adamant that it is not about making money but to have fun.

According to Musati, the two teams used to play their football games at the Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School field, which was known as the “Ellis Park Football Stadium” in the 1980s and 90s.

The Russian XI won the match last year, and the Dream Team in 2013.

Speaking to Nampa after the match, Russian Eleven’s long-serving player Mabos Ortman said fitness was a problem for some of them in the first half, but they managed to pick up the pace in the second half to win the match for the second time.

“This match is for people to have fun, and for us to remember our players who have left us (died),” he said.

Dream Team captain Lolo Goraseb said it was sad to lose the match for the second time, but he is happy to see how community members came out to support them.

“What is important here is how we remember our late players and to keep the legacy of these two teams,” he said.