Brave Warriors, Zebras share spoils
WINDHOEK – The Namibian senior national football team alias ‘ Brave Warriors’ played to a one-all draw against Botswana’s Zebras in an international friendly match on Wednesday in Maun, Botswana. Brave Warriors’ team manager Tim Isaacs confirmed the scoreline to Nampa on Thursday, saying the national side was leading through a goal scored by winger Eslin Kamuhanga. The team arrived back home on Thursday. Asked about a possible international friendly match as part of the country’s 21st Independence celebrations on Monday, the team manager said there is a possibility of a friendly match, but it may not be against another national side but a local or regional team. Isaacs added that if all goes according to plan, the match will take place in Otjiwarongo at the Mokati Stadium. Namibia has a daunting task to overcome when they take on Burkina Faso on 26 March in an away qualifier for the 2012 African Cup of Nations (AFCON). Namibia is at the bottom of group F with no points as Burkina Faso leads the group with three points, followed by Gambia, also with three points. According tp Namibian Sport, a young Namibian team gave a promising performance to hold Botswana to a 1-1 draw in an international soccer friendly in Maun on Wednesday evening. The Brave Warriors were rather fortunate to take the lead on 33m when winger Eslin Kamuhanga shunned the fair play rule and lobbed the ball over the keeper into the net. When a Botswana player went down injured, they kicked the ball out, expecting Namibia to return the ball from the throw in, but Kamuhanga caught them by surprise to lob the ball into the net. Botswana stepped up the tempo after the break and equalised through a great shot by Lemponye Tshireletso on 65 minutes, when he received the ball in space and blasted a 30m shot past a diving Athiel Mbaha into the right hand corner of the net. Namibia started off promisingly with Pineas Jacob receiving two clearcut chances in the opening 10m, but his finishing was poor. Their defence which saw Da Costa Angula making his debut, was solid and Botswana had few meaningful chances in the first half. The home side however attacked with purpose after the break and after coming close on several occasions they finally equalised through Tshireletso’s stunning long range shot. In the final quarter, Sidney Urikhob who came on for Pineas Jacob troubled Botswana’s defence with his pace, while he had a long range effort well saved, while Botswana had a few chances but their finishing was poor. Namibian coach Brian Isaacs said he was happy with the performance, and especially that of the defence. “Look at the chances we created, we could have been leading 3-0 at halftime, and defensively we were very strong, so I’m happy with our performance.” Isaacs, who fielded a young team of home-based players said they had to start creating for the future. “We need to bring in young blood to get more variety and to supplement the senior side.” The Brave Warriors will now focus on their crucial African Cup of Nations qualifier against Burkina Faso on March 26 and Isaacks said he was hopeful of a good result. “In football anything is possible. Our defensive play was very good tonight and I think we stand a chance against Burkina Faso,” he said. The Brave Warriors team: Athiel Mbaha, Hartman Toromba, Richard Gariseb (captain), Da Costa Angula, Jamu Ngatjizeko, Ronald Ketjijere, Denzil Haoseb, Pineas Jacob (Sidney Urikhob 65m), Alfred Ndyenge (Chris Katjiukua 76m), Bradley Wermann (Ninja Karongee 71m), Eslin Kamuhanga (Emilio Martin 86m). Nampa- aditional reporting Namibia Sport.