Namibia beat Zambia on penalties to reach Cosafa semi-finals

24 May 2015 17:50pm
MORULENG, 24 MAY (NAMPA) - Namibia beat Zambia 5-4 on penalties in the quarter-finals of the Council of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) Cup here on Sunday, to qualify for the semi-finals.
Zambia dominated play from the start with their ball possession in the first half, but Namibia stood their ground.
With the game going for the half-time break both teams created few scoring opportunities but could not get the ball into the net.
With five minutes to the half-time whistle, Brave Warriors controlled and dominated ball possession and failed to capitalise on their goal-scoring chances when Deon Hotto missed a close range goal from a Benson Shilongo cross into the box.
The half-time score was 0-0.
In the second half, the Namibians were still the stronger side but gave Zambia little scoring opportunity.
With additional time approaching, Zambia came close to scoring their opener, but a brilliant save from Virgil Vries kept them at bay.
The full-time score was 0-0.
Penalty shoot-outs were needed to decide the winner and Heinrich Isaack; Willy Stephanus; Willem Mwedihanga; Ronald Katjijere and Deon Hotto stepped up and converted their penalties for Namibia.
Zambia’s Emmanuel Mbola missed one of the five penalties taken by his team to give Namibia the 5-4 penalty shootout win.
Speaking to the media after the game, Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti said he was happy with his team’s performance, but stressed that it was vital for his team to play more defensive to guarantee them a place in the semi-finals.
“Going into the second half we decided to play more defensive, because we knew everything is possible with the penalty shootouts. Credit should be given to the players for holding down a very strong Zambia side that was dominating possession and threatening upfront for the whole game,” he said.
The coach added that Namibia has been “denied laughter for a long time” and he wanted the nation to enjoy the team’s win at the Cosafa Cup.
“Today we have to celebrate because I cannot remember when anyone gave us an opportunity to talk as we felt about our football. Every Namibian should now feel free to boast about their team,” said Mannetti.
Namibia will now play the winner between Ghana and Madagascar on Thursday in the semi-finals at the Moruleng Stadium.
Zambia won the 2013 edition of the Cosafa Cup which was hosted in that country. There was no Cosafa Cup in 2014 due to a lack of sponsorship.