Boni Paulnho and Kennedy Eib netted a goal apiece for Namibia’s under-20 football team, the Young Warriors, in their well-deserved 2-all stalemate against hosts Swaziland at the Somhlolo Stadium in Lobamba on Saturday, in the first leg of the 2017 CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The visitors registered their name on the score sheet on 15 minutes via Paulinho’s headed goal before the hosts drew level 20 minutes later.
Gerald Gunter’s inspired Young Warriors pushed to regain their lead and were finally rewarded when Eib headed home from a corner kick to make it 2-1 in favour of Namibia.
Swaziland drew level from the penalty spot for a share of the spoils and though the Namibians can feel hard done by for not collecting the much needed maximum points – coach Gunter was satisfied with the result, notably the manner in which his young brigade played away from home.
“It is a very important result and we need to finish the job at home. Swaziland was always going to spoil our day and we cannot allow that when we entertain them in the decisive second leg at home in a fortnight’s time.
“We could have scored a third goal but it was not to be and the goals we conceded were very soft. Our defence could have done better. Nevertheless, the boys played with too much emotion – we need to be more calm and exercise discipline at all times. We have enough time to rectify those small details before the second leg and I still strongly believe we can progress to the next round,” Gunther said.
The 2nd leg is slated for Windhoek on April 23 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium with the winner to confront South Africa in the second round in May/June, after which a 3RD and final qualifying round awaits the winner for a place in Zambia next year.
Namibia’s line-up: Donovan Gainub, Kennedy Eib, Baloyi Tsandib, Bertoni du Toit, Hiha Katjivena, Katiti Hakuria, Pandeni Kandjabanga, Romeo Kasume, Boni Paulino, Anthony Kham and Venovineja Tjikundi.