Following their historic victory in the COSAFA Under 17 tourney in Mauritius last month, the Namibian Under-17 football team the Baby Warriors were brought down to earth.
The Namibian youngsters suffered a 3-nil defeat at the hands of hosts Congo-Brazzaville in the decisive second leg of their Confederation of African Football (CAF) 2017 U-17 African Cup of Nations qualifier in Brazzaville on Sunday, leaving the regional champions licking their wounds after a humiliating 5-1 exit on aggregate.
Namibia went into the tie trailing the hosts by a solitary goal following their 2-1 home defeat a fortnight earlier. The hosts stepped up a gear at the Alphonse Massemba-Debat Stadium and were 2-goals to the good entering the half time break (3-1).
Coach Times Tjongarero said his boys conceded an early goal before giving the hosts another chance to extend their slender lead from the penalty spot, allowing the hosts an insurmountable 2-0 cushion.
Nevertheless, Tjongarero believes the overall performance was satisfactory. “The boys showed some great character creating excellent goal-scoring chances but we failed to convert them into goals, notably in the first half, but the second half saw our boys getting much stronger and created three clear goal-scoring opportunities with two strong penalty appeals that were waved away by the referee,” Tjongarero charged.
However, he reckons the team is becoming better in the bigger scheme of things of their overall development and believes the boys are destined for greater heights.
“In terms of dealing with various aspects such as physically imposing teams, the boys are gradually getting there. So, with more high-level matches like this one, I would confidently say we have a great team for the future of our football.” The Baby Warriors starting line-up: Philipus Josef, Johannes Hollombach, Lubeni Haukongo, Dawid Morgan JR, Stanley Ndjavera, Mbakondja Tjahikika, Pitsi Amseb, Alex Kaongelwa, Stefano Dundee, Junior Petrus and Godwin Eiseb.