Losers Resort to Cruel Kicking Antics

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Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek The defeat of the Under-23 national team on Sunday at the hands of South Africa marked the end of an era for the entire team. Failing to qualify for the Olympic group stages means that the Namibia Under-23 side will not play any competitive games again until in 2009 for the preliminary rounds of the 2012 Olympic Games. Namibia Football Association (NFA) Technical Director, Seth Boois, told New Era yesterday that it was the end of the road for the team, and the team will literally be dismantled. The technical director said it is unfortunate, but there are no other international competitions for the Under-23s, and thus the team can no longer exist. He noted, however, that some players will be absorbed into the Brave Warriors and will hopefully form the core of the national team for the 2008 African Nations Cup if Namibia qualifies. He added that the NFA next year plans to assemble an Under-17 squad which will start preparing for the 2009 Olympic qualifiers. He said the NFA also plans to retain most of the players of the Under-23s to incorporate them in the Presidential Eleven which will be the feeder team for the senior side. Long before kick-off, there were signs that the Under-23 team would not easily achieve victory in Windhoek on Sunday. Sure, they held a slight 1-0 advantage over Namibia in this preliminary round, second leg, Olympic qualifier but the locals were of the view that their neighbours should be roughed up in order to snatch victory. The hosts resorted to intimidating Amaglug-glug with their cruel kicking antics, which only served up a scrappy affair for the large number of fans who bothered to turn up. There were times on Sunday when the pitch was invaded by officials from both sides as chaos reigned over terrible tackles made by the home team. However, that didn’t bother Amaglug-glug much as they continually fought to maintain their lead from the first leg. But there’s no doubting the brilliance of Lerato Chabangu. Renowned for his role as a target man in previous outings, the Mamelodi Sundowns striker was given a free role on Sunday. “We knew it was going to be tough, but we didn’t expect such foul play from Namibia,” Chabangu said afterwards. “They wanted to intimidate us with some harsh challenges ,but I’m glad we identified their strategy very early on and kept them chasing after us.” Just after the visitors conceded an-own goal from Thapelo Tshilo after they failed to clear a corner kick from Rudi Louw, Chabangu almost immediately got his teammates back into the game. It was his clinical finish on 54 minutes, after being put through by a combined effort from Lebohang Mokoena and Masilo Modubi that ensured Amaglug-glug scoring the important away goal. Indeed, Amaglug-glug had numerous other chances earlier that went a-begging. On 36 minutes, Daine Klate in an unfamiliar position inside the danger zone, headed over, with only goalkeeper Efraim Tjihonge to beat. Then a low strike by Lance Davids forced Tjihonge to divert the ball to safety. The Namibians, on the other hand, were so obsessed with foul play, that hardly did they have their shooting boots on when Itumeleng Khune often halted any danger they posed. With eight more outings left before Amaglug-glug jet off to Asia for the Olympics, there was relief as Amaglug-glug cleared the first hurdle. They will now await the draw in December for their next opponents in the second round on February 7, 2007. Teams Namibia (4-4-2): Tjihonge; Haukambe, Kambonde, Nakuta, Uanivi; Horaeb (Shipahu 81), Louw (Cloete 77), Makina, Coetzee; Puriza, Shatimuene South Africa (4-4-2): Khune; Ntuka, Johannes, Tshilo, Masilela; Siwahla (Rantjie 74), Modubi, Davids, Klate (Parker 58); Mokoena (Mbhele 90), Chabangu Referee: Antonio De Sousa (Angola) Yellow Cards: Puriza 5, Masilela 11, Uanivi 17, Mokoena 40, Nakuta 63, Kambonde 72 Red Card: Puriza 90