Brave Warriors Finally Victorious

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Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK At last, Namibia finally secured a victory when the Brave Warriors beat Ethiopia by a single in a 2008 African Nations Cup qualifier at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek. A 25th minute goal from the penalty converted by Quinton Jacobs was enough to hand the Brave Warriors their first significant victory since their heyday at the 1998 African Nations Cup Finals in Burkina Faso. Although the Brave Warriors did not play good football and were not at all convincing, the result at the end of the day brought a sigh of relief to the thousands of Namibian football supporters who have been waiting for this moment for almost a decade. The Brave Warriors line-up suggested that the Namibian coach Ben Bamfuchile would go for a more cautious approach as he fielded five players across midfield with Henrico Botes as the lone striker. However, in the first ten minutes, the game was different and Namibia adopted an offensive strategy with Sydney Plaatjies, Robert Nauseb and Jacobs connecting well to test the Ethiopian goalkeeper. The host started mounting the pressure, and Ethiopia was lucky not to concede a penalty in the first ten minutes after their defender handled the ball in the box from a Heini Isaacs corner. Namibia again had another opportunity to take the lead when an Ethiopian defender esily gave the ball away to Botes, but the tall Morocco Swallows defender failed to connect with the ball properly and his shot wwent wide. But finally, the moment of truth arrived in the twenty fifth minute when German-based Collin Benjamin was brought down in the penalty box after a fine run from midfield. The referee did not hesitate and pointed to the spot, with almost no protest from the visitors. Jacobs, who had an excellent game, stepped up and buried the penalty in the bottom right corner and, despite the goalkeeper going the right way, the shot from Jacobs’ left foot was too strong for him. The goal sent the thousands of Namibian supports into celebration and they were joined by the Head of State Hifikepunye Pohamba, Founding President Sam Nujoma, NFA Patron Hage Geingob and Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture John Mutorwa, who were all present to witness the game. After the goal, Namibia slowed down and allowed the visitors to pass the ball in the middle of the park at will, and Namibia’s holding midfielder Robert Nauseb had a poor game. The half-time score was 1-0. The joyous occasion was almost spoilt by football supporters crashing through the gate and going into the game without paying. The Namibian police tried to control the high influx of people who arrived late and were pushing to come in after the game had started. They even used tear gas, but to no avail as the people were determined to enter the stadium. The second half of the game was less dramatic, and both teams never really threatened. Although Ethiopia enjoyed the lion’s share of ball possession, it never really had a clear-cut chance except in the final minutes, which went begging. Despite the game not being entertaining, the fans were at least happy that Namibia got the result, keeping its hopes alive for reaching the 2008 African Nations Cup finals in Ghana. The Brave Warriors next stop will be their encounter against Libya.