First National Bank Cup

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Blue Waters Prove Winners By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK COASTAL Giants Blue Waters FC became the new holders of the First National Bank Cup on Saturday when they eliminated old foes African Stars 4-1 on penalties after an exciting final at the newly reconstructed San Nujoma Stadium. The final, which brought back old memories, in the end had to be settled on penalties after both teams were tied 1-1 after 120 minutes of nail-biting football. With the stadium fairly packed with mostly African Stars supporters on Saturday afternoon the stage was set for an exciting final and both teams did not disappoint. In fact, the script was already written for African Stars and they will possibly not get a better chance than Saturday to win a major trophy this season. Africans Stars had the easiest route to the final. They played United Stars in their first match of the competition and defeated promoted sides Touch & Go and Cymot SKW to book their place in the final against Blue Waters. The Samba Boys, as they are affectionately known by their thousands of supporters, have only themselves to blame for losing on Saturday as Blue Waters were really struggling to get into top gear. The Walvis Bay side looked flat and could not connect three passes together on a day Stars could have capitalized on. However, it was not to be and despite dominating the game for long periods especially in the first half they still had to settle for silver medals. The game started evenly with African Stars having a bit more possession but it was Blue Waters who opened the scoring through a beautifully taken goal from their star striker Meraai Swartbooi some twenty minutes gone into the first half. Stars did not lie down after the goal and after constant pressure finally got the goal when under pressure from Stars’ captain Nico Andima and striker Boetiekie Malgas, the coastal side’s captain, Fischer Kalimba, turned an intended clearance into his own net to draw the sides level at 1-all. The half-time score was 1-1. In the second half Blue Waters defended deeply and relied heavily on the long ball to create any chance but their style of play was very predictable and the Stars defence, well marshalled by Mali Ngarizemo, easily handled any threat from the coastal giants. Stars on their part played the short ball and looked very dangerous every time Malgas and Freedom Puriza were in possession. However, the African Stars coach Manasese Katjivena did not build on his ball possession and in the second half brought on defenders instead of bringing on more creative players to open up the Blue Waters defence. In the penalty shootout African Stars’ first two penalty takers hit the crossbar while Blue Waters players converted all their four penalties. Not to face any critics or create controversy, the organizing committee decided to give all the awards to Blue Waters. Blue Waters coach Shepard Murape was voted coach of the tournament, Swartbooi player of the tournament, Atheil Mbaha the goalkeeper of the tournament while Blue Waters team manager was voted team manager of the tournament, all receiving an N$ 1000.