Brave Warriors draw against Taifa Stars

WINDHOEK: The Brave Warriors drew one-all against the Taifa Stars from Tanzania in an international friendly at Windhoek’s Sam Nujoma Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Brave Warriors’ Panduleni Nekundi came on in the last five additional minutes of the match to save his team from a defeat against the visitors.

The Tanzanian team only managed to obtain a goal in the middle of the second half through an own goal by Emilio Martin.

Namibia’s Lazarus Kaimbi made the first attempt to score from the right corner, but his powerful shot at goal went further to the left corner.

Although the Warriors had clear chances to score, their shots did not take effect.

Midfield gem Awilo Stephanus also produced strong shots in the first half, but the Taifa Stars’ goalkeeper was determined to deny him a goal.

The Brave Warriors’ Deon Hotto and Petrus Shitembi – who came on board in the second half – kept challenging the Tanzanian defence with their speed, although they did not come close to scoring despite the many good chances they had.

The referee then blew the whistle for half-time with only one yellow card issued to Tanzanian Hamid Mkami.

The Taifa Stars led the game by 1-0 until the 90 minutes were over, but Nekundi made magic for his team with his header, leaving the game at 1-1 at full time.

Speaking to the media shortly after the match, Brave Warriors’ coach Ricardo Mannetti said he knew it was going to a be a tough match because the Tanzanian team are indeed tough customers.

“The game was very tough, and it’s one of the toughest teams I have faced so far,” he noted.

The national coach also said he was disappointed that he could not get all the players he had initially called up for the friendly.

The Brave Warriors had to go without Manfred Starke, Rudolph Bester, Heinrich Isaacks and Henrico Botes during this encounter.

“It was a setback for me,” said Mannetti.

He noted that he did not want the situation to be like the one of last year when he called up players, and they did not make it for the games, saying it was “constant damage control”.

Mannetti indicated that overall, he is happy with his players’ performance.

“I am very pleased that we did not lose this game because that was very important for us,” he added.

The national coach recently held a goal-scoring session for his players in preparation for this friendly.

“Goal-scoring is an art which needs to be perfected on a daily basis, and all the coaches around the world know that,” he stated.

He, however, thinks that in the Brave Warriors’ case, they are not putting enough emphasis on the matter to solve the problem altogether.

“Until we solve this problem, the national team will forever suffer and will be goal-shy,” he stressed.

On his part, Taifa Stars’ coach Salum Madadi indicated that it was a tough game, and that the Namibian side was a good team.

He congratulated Mannetti on the strategy he used for the clash.

“I must congratulate the national coach for that strategy he had. We tried our best to overcome it, but it was very difficult, and that means they have a good side,” he continued.