By Carlos Kambaekwa
Hosts Namibia booked themselves a place in the final of the ongoing Four Nations under-17 tournament in Walvis Bay.
The heavily-depleted Namibian youngsters came from a goal behind twice to force a 2-all stalemate against the visiting Westphalia in a closely contested encounter at the Kuisebmond Stadium last night.
Mercurial midfielder Embert Isaaks pulled a goal back for the hosts after the Germans had taken a 1-goal lead after the break, but the home team’s jubilation was short-lived as the visitors added goal number two within 5 minutes of Namibia’s goal.
Urged on by a partisan home crowd, Willem Kapukare’s charges surged forward and threw more bodies in attack and the move finally paid dividends when Benson Shilongo popped up with the much-needed equalizer to send the crowd into raptures with a few minutes left on the clock.
Namibia can take solace from the fact that they played their penultimate match against the more composed Germans with a laterally wheelchair-bound last line of defence after goalkeeper Collin Ndjai picked up a serious knee injury in Tuesday’s physical tie against South Africa’s Amatjitas which ended goalless.
South Africa recorded their first win of the tournament – narrowly defeating Namibia’s second strings by 2 goals to 1 to finish the league phase with 5 points after they were held to consecutive draws in their low-scoring opening matches against Westphalia and Namibia-A in that order.
Such was the intensity of the competition that hosts Namibia, Westphalia and South Africa all finished the tournament on five points each after completion of the round robin phase, but the South Africans bowed out because of their inferior goal average.
Amatjitas will return to action again in the curtain-raiser against Namibia-B Invitation, while Namibia confront the visiting Westphalia at the same venue tomorrow. The teams take a breather today before retuning to action to complete their assignment tomorrow.