Just behind Brave Warriors mentor Ricardo Mannetti, Namibia’s Under-17 head coach Timo Tjongarero yesterday became only the second Namibian coach to have won a Cosafa trophy after his side defeated favourites South Africa 3-1 to lift the Cosafa Under-17 Championships trophy.
Namibia claimed the title after a 3-1 penalty shoot-out victory over South Africa, following a 1-1 draw in the final in Mauritius on Sunday.
Namibia had lost 4-0 to the South Africans in the pool stage, but showed a vastly improved performance in the decider and went on to claim a well-deserved win in the shoot-out.
With yesterday’s victory, coach Tjongarero rightfully earned his place in domestic football history books as the only second local gaffer to have won a Cosafa trophy, carving himself a place just behind Brave Warriors coach Mannetti, who became the first when he claimed the 2015 edition of the Cosafa Cup senior challenge.
Tjongarero was full of praise for his side after they claimed the 2016 Cosafa Under-17 Championships title following their shoot-out victory over South Africa in the final on Sunday.
Namibia claimed the shoot-out win after the teams had been locked at 1-1 in a contest in which Namibia squandered a few chances, but it was quite a comeback from the Namibian side after they lost 4-0 to South Africa in the pool stages of the competition.
“It was a very difficult game, but we had an idea of the tactics to use and it worked. Our idea was to frustrate the South African team at the back and throw long balls up there. I think it went well. The motivation and the belief were there and we kept on going. Even though they equalised, we still believed we could win,” Tjongarero said.
The former Tura Magic coach and incumbent NFA technical director was especially proud of his side, given the caliber of the opponents they faced.
“They’re a good team and we know them well. They have a lot of players who play in academies in South Africa and have quality players in a balanced team. We gave them good competition, as they did to us,” Tjongarero enthused.
He also added that the experience of playing in the Cosafa Under-17 Championships will be invaluable to his team. “For us it was a good level and we faced different opponents with different styles, different pace and different systems,” he said.
“It helps us to develop and improve. I really appreciate that Cosafa is organising a tournament for the Under-17 age group and if it is played on a regular basis then it will be very good in 10 years’ time for all our teams in the region.”
Malawi grabbed the bronze medal with a 2-0 victory over an improved Kenya in the third-place play-off. – Additional reporting: cosafa.com