Namibia’s mighty Brave Warriors yesterday finally ended the drought of 16 years of not reaching the final of the Cosafa Cup when they gallantly brushed aside a stubborn Madagascar with a well-deserved 3-2 victory. They made the final of the 2015 Cosafa Cup for the first time since 1999.
Despite Namibia’s victory, the Indian Ocean islanders proved a hard nut to crack as they delivered a plucky performance that saw them secure two goals in the opening half – but Namibia’s superior endurance carried them through when prolific striker Benson Shilongo struck twice in the same quarter, before youngster Peter Shalulile netted the winner with 15 minutes of play remaining in the second half.
Namibia was first to put their name on the score sheet after a few near misses when Shilongo connected swiftly with Petrus Shitembi’s chip-in pass to hand Namibia the lead with just 18 minutes on the clock.
But two unforced defensive clumsy schoolboy errors from Chris Katjiukua and Denzil Haoseb saw Madagascar take a 2-1 lead as striker Sarivahy Vombola completed his brace within less than six minutes.
As halftime drew closer, coach Ricardo Mannetti’s charges never gave up and kept pressing ahead and their efforts paid dividends when midfielder Shitembi quickly connected with ever-galloping stylish winger Deon Hotto, who skimmed his marker before spotting the unmarked Shilongo who bundled the ball into the back to level matters at the Moruleng Stadium, heading into the changeover.
The 2nd half started off on the same note but this time around with the Namibians enjoying more possession in the middle of the park. But it was not until the 84th minute that Namibia managed to regain their lead when Shitembi once again engineered a great pass to Shilongo who quickly laid it off for youngster Shalulile, who smashed the roof of the net with a thunderbolt to give the Brave Warriors a well-deserved 3-2 victory.