Peter Shalulile stuck on 73 minutes to hand the Brave Warriors a much-needed 1-0 victory over Mozambique on Tuesday night, taking Namibia to seven points, and second in Group K of the qualification for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Namibian played Mozambique for the second time in four days and they needed to win again, having won in Maputo on Saturday 2-1, and Peter Shalulile controlled a fine cross from Willy Stephanus and dispatched it into the back of the net emphatically to send them into the much-needed celebration after a frustrating evening.
Namibians came out in numbers to support their beloved Brave Warriors following their heroics on Saturday in Maputo and just as it was the case then, Mozambique had the better of the ball and created more chances to score, winning three corners inside the opening six minutes, while the Warriors looked for counters that failed to spackle.
Captain elias Pelembe, Stanely Ratifo, Joao Jeitso, Dove Edmilson kept the ball well for Mozambique while Clesio Palmerim pulled the strings well for Xavier Abel side but the end product was not to be.
Deon Hotto replaced Absalom Iimbondi at halftime and took up the left side of midfield while Willy Stephanus retuned to the right as Petrus Shitembi, captain Ronald Ketjijere and Sadney Urikhob continued to hold their own against the physical Mozambicans.
And as it all seemed like the two sides will play out for a draw and five points each after the night in Group K, Stephanus reminded the fans why he loves to kiss the touchline as he ran down the flank and delivered a pitch perfect cross onto the chest of the appreciate Shalulile who shrug of a defender before unleashing a right footer into the net past Leonel Pendula.
Namibia were dealt a heavy blow on 87 minutes as the impressive Denzil Haoseb received his second yellow and his marching order for apparent time wasting. Defender Charles Hambira came on for Shitembi to close shop in the five added minutes.
An emotional Ricardo Mannetti praise the fans and players for the conduct on the day and throughout the joinery thus far.
“We have not qualified yet but have done ourselves proud indeed today. The players have shown that they deserve to be respected and they really have risen up. The fans today were fantastic and we now need to produce the same result against Guinea Bissau next month and get to the ten points which is our target to qualify,” says the teary Mannetti.
Mozambican coach Xavier Abel refused to attend the post-match press conference with Namibia now on seven points, equal with Guinea Bissau while Mozambique and Zambia are on four points each in Group K.
The next match day will see Namibia host Guinea Bissau and Mozambique play Zambia between 12-20 November before the final match-day in March 2019. The group winner and the runner-up will qualify for the 32ndedition of the Total African Cup of Nations to be played in Cameroon from 15 June to 13 July 2019.
By Dan Kamati