Samaria mum about the way forward

LIMBA MUPETAMI

WINDHOEK

The Brave Warriors of Namibia were defeated 2-1 on their home ground in the second leg of their Africa Cup of Nations encounter with Mali at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.

This is a back-to-back loss by the Namibians, who were beaten 1-0 in the first leg on Friday and had hoped to benefit from the home-ground advantage.

Samaria mute

Since Tuesday night’s match, Samaria has not responded to questions streaming in from dissatisfied fans, who watched the match on NBC because supporters were not allowed into the stadium due to Covid-19 regulations. Questions about how he plans on manoeuvring next year to get the necessary points, and whether Namibia stands a chance to qualify for Cameroon’s Afcon after the latest showing, also went unanswered.

How it happened

Namibia conceded an early goal in the 12th minute, with Mali’s first goal coming from Sekou Koita who was a thorn in the flesh of the Namibians.

In the 37th minute, the visitors’ second goal came from Moussa Doumbia.

Soon after, in the 38th minute, Namibia was granted a free-kick that was taken by Absalom Iimbondi, and then headed into the goalpost by Elmo Kambindu.

However, Namibia’s efforts didn’t pay off and the match ended in the visitors’ favour. This loss put the Namibians in third place in Group A on three points and pushed Mali up to first place with 10 points. This means Mali has already qualified for Afcon together with Tunisia, title holders Algeria, Senegal and hosts Cameroon. Guinea has eight points, and Chad has one point in fourth place. Another 19 places will be up for grabs on the final two matchdays between March 22 and 30.

To expect

Namibia beat Chad at home 2-1 on 13 November 2019. They will now face Chad away on 22 March 2021. On 17 November 2019, Guinea beat Namibia 2-0 away. They will now face Guinea at home on 30 March 2021.

How the players performed

Virgil Vries: Made great saves throughout the match. Showed experience and involved with play, thus creating play from the back. Conceded two goals, with the exception of El Bilal Toure’s, which he saved. Denzil Haoseb: Unusually pedestrian in defence, could have closed spaces quicker.

Teberius Lombard: Stood his ground, led from the back and cleared several critical attacks. Great communication going with Vries on the pitch.

Ananias Gebhardt: Not very impressive. Not many crosses coming in from his line. (Was substituted, making way for Riaan Hanamub.

Hanamub: Great work rate. Owned the left wing. Delivered great crosses. Unlucky at goal as he hit the iron bar in the second half, much to the disappointment of the team. Conceded a penalty which was saved by Vries.

Larry Horaeb: Was under pressure from Koita throughout the match, but could have fallen back much faster. In terms of going forward he showed a glimpse of modern wing-backs.

Deon Hotto: Had an off day. Could have done much better but his midfielders didn’t do him much service in the first half to supply the wings. Thus, Mali dominated the midfield. Was substituted and thus made way for Benson Shilongo.

Shilongo: Provided stability upfront when he came on the pitch. Great at holding and distributing the ball. Was played out of position, thus having minimal effect. Was then substituted, making way for Panduleni Nekundi.

Nekundi: Not much impact as Mali got the job done by taking the sting out of the Warriors attackers.

Elmo Kambindu: Scorer of the only goal for Namibia. Great in the air. Had he received more through-passes, he could have been more impactful on attack. Wasted energy trying to win the ball for Namibia with no support.

Peter Shalulile: Was playing too deep in the middle, thus not tormenting the defence of Mali upfront. Didn’t look composed on the ball. Very hasty.

Petrus Shitembi: Great on the ball, but too slow in releasing it to the forwards. Didn’t command his players. Was substituted, making way for Marcel Papama.

Papama: Quick on his feet. Great technical ability displayed. Reader of the game. Game dynamic changed when he ran onto the field. Made several through-passes which could have overturned the results if executed better.

Absalom Iimbondi: Could have made better choices in front of goal. Lacked aggression. Was substituted, making way for Salomo Omseb.

Omseb: Not much impact on the match as he came on in the dying minutes of the game.