Vaino Uugwanga’s second half goal proved enough to propel Namibia’s junior football side – Baby Warriors – to a 1-0 victory over Botswana in their 2017 CAF U/17 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) first round qualifier played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Friday night.
Namibia’s defender Vaino Uugwanga was on hand to pounce from a Mbakondja Tjahikika corner kick, bundling the ball into the back of the net early in the second half as the home side finally made count their ball possession dominance in the encounter.
There could have been more goals for the Baby Warriors with captain and striker Dawid Morgan Jr leading the way. He had two clear chances to put the tie to bed as he found space through the Botswana defence, but with just the goalkeeper to beat on both occasions he shot wide of goal.
Godwin Awaseb was also a threat to the visitors with his physicality and runs. Philipus Josef was impressive in goal for the Baby Warriors and so was Stanley Ndjavera, Lubeni Haukongo and substitute Giovani Kaninab.
Interim coach Timo Tjongarero reckons his side still have a chance to make it through to the next round but have to work hard in Botswana for Saturday’s return leg.
“We just need to make sure we don’t lose in Botswana and that will not be easy. They will be at home and they have proven they can play and put us under pressure. We could have scored more on the day but it was not to be. It’s about giving the boys the game time they need so that they can get better,” Tjongarero said.
The team’s victory came just before the Cosafa Castle Cup Plate final match between the Brave Warriors and Zambia, and indeed inspired the seniors to victory over Zambia with the same score line to finish fifth at the tournament.
The team will depart for Botswana by Tuesday with the second round match scheduled for Saturday in Labotse, 70 kilometers from Gaborone. The winner of this tie will play Congo in the second round of the qualifiers, after which the winner will contest the third and final round for a place in Madagascar from April 2-16, 2017.