Wasteful Warriors Out of Afcon
Jabateh was New Era Sports' Man of the Match
By Carlos Kambaekwa,
Windhoek — Lady-luck turned her back on Namibia's senior
football team, the Brave Warriors, as the team could only
chalk up a goalless draw in their must-win 2013 African
Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifier against Liberia at the
Independence Stadium on Saturday.
Going into the penultimate clash with their backs against
the wall following their 1-0 defeat in the first leg away in
Monrovia in February - the Warriors had a Mount Kilimanjaro
to scale as they needed to win by two clear goals without
conceding a goal to have any mathematical chance of
advancing to the next round.
The Liberians made three changes to the team that started
against Namibia in the first leg, with Solomon Wesseh
dropping to the substitute's bench, while wayward skipper
Anthony Laffor and Dioh Williams were notable absentees.
The Warriors also made enforced changes to the squad with
youngsters Awilo Stephanus and Petrus "Dancing Shoes"
Shitembi getting a rare start - replacing the injured pair
of Lazarus Kaimbi and Rudolf "Magic Feet" Bester.
However, the big occasion got the better of the usually
dangerous super subs as both youngsters struggled to ignite
the Warriors' exhausted engine room.
The visitors packed their defence - leaving dangerous
striker Oliseh Sekou Jabateh to do battle alone upfront.
The SK Moscow No. 10 was a constant threat and
single-handedly troubled the rearguard of the hosts with
some deft touches on the ball, while his strong runs and
intelligent positional play placed him in a different
category from the other 21 players on the pitch.
Jabateh was New Era Sports' Man of the Match.
The first half produced very little in terms of goal scoring
opportunities as the hosts failed to manage a single shot on
target, while the visitors were content to sit back and
defend deep to protect their one-goal cushion from the first
The match finally came to life after a dull goalless first
half as the Warriors threw more bodies upfront in search of
the elusive equalizer.
Interim coach Norii Kaanjuka made a double substitution -
withdrawing the ineffective Shitembi and unleashed Tangeni
Shipahu, while he also hauled off Stephanus for Balack
The highly talented Shitembi had a bad day by his own
standards. The move almost paid immediate dividends as the
experienced Shipahu was at the forefront of many attacks
with the Warriors coming close to breaking the deadlock, but
erratic shooting by Heini Isaacks proved to be their
downfall as the usually lethal goatee-bearded midfielder
missed two sitters in succession with the goal at his mercy.
Substitute Somaeb also had a brilliant chance to put his
name on the score sheet but the speedy youngster lost his
footing when he was sent clear on goal via a copybook
defence-splitting pass from fellow substitute Shipahu.
Despite running his lungs out and harassing the Liberian
defence, which was well-marshalled by the dreadlocked Omega
Alamadine, non-stop, the veteran striker Henrico Botes
looked totally isolated upfront with decent through balls in
In what could be construed as the last throw of the dice,
Kaanjuka replaced the tiring Lovers Kamuhanga with Sadney
Uri-Khob, but the tactic yielded very little as the
Liberians held on for the desired draw to extend their
passage in the AFCON qualifiers - going through to the next
round 1-0 on aggregate.
Brave Warriors starting line-up: Virgil Vries, Larry Horaeb,
Dudes Mwedihanga, Da Costa Angula, Denzil Haoseb, Stigga
Ketjijere (capt), Awilo Stephanus (Balack Somaeb), Petrus
Shitembi (Tangeni Shipahu), Lovers Kamuhanga (Sadney Uri-Khob),
Heini Isaacks and Henrico Botes.