Brave Warriors and Zambia in exciting draw

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Substitute Benson Shilongo put Namibia in the lead only for Justine Shonga to make it one-all at the death as the Brave Warriors and Zambia share the spoils on a chilly Saturday afternoon at a packed Sam Nujoma Stadium in their Group K 2019 AFCON qualifiers match.

Benson Shilongo was a second half substitute, replacing Wangu Gome and on 78 minutes Petrus Shitembi found space in the Zambian half before playing in another substitute Hendrick Somaeb, who under pressure from Kennedy Mweene in the Zambia goal, squeezed the ball through and the ever-alert Shilongo poked home from close range with 11 minutes left to play. Zambia got their goal in added time as Justin Shonga’ s free kick was deflected into the back of the net off the header of Ananias Gebhardt.

After the match, both coaches were satisfied with the result. Zambia coach Sven Vandenbroeck says his side’s fighting ability was key.

“It was a tight game and I’m pleased with my team’s character to come back from 1-0 down to get away with a point. Not ideal result but a fair result. The reaction from the boys is commendable given the circumstances”.

Brave Warriors echoes his counterpart’s comments albeit disappointed with the result. “It is a bitter pill to swallow for us. Given the circumstances of none league at home and a player like Somaeb coming back from injury and others lacking match fitness. Sometimes we become emotional about games but we take this result”, stated Mannetti.

Back in the red of the Brave Warriors, Willy Stephanus tested Zambian veteran goalkeeper Mweene with a fine free kick on 15 minutes, which the latter tipped over for a corner kick. Another Warriors returnee Sadney Urikhob left Stoppila Sunzu for dead on 35 minutes before playing an inviting ball in, which Stephanus squared off to Deon Hotto whose shot was blocked and cleared for safety. A minute later, Riaan Hanamub won a tussle with Augustine Mulenga, raced down the left before playing a fine ball for Hotto to chase and the latter’s shot was just wide of goal with Mweene in no-man’s land. Urikhob had a final chance at goal in the closing stages but Zambia’s real chance of the half came in added time as Rainford Kalamba’s header went over.

In the second half, Paston Daka connected well with cross and his one-time shot hit the upright and back into play and away for Namibian safety on 55 minutes and on 65 minutes Mulenga went for power instead of placement with only Namibia goalkeper Virgil Vries at his mercy as the ball went well over.

Zambia’s Fashon Sakala came close on 73 minutes only from Vries to clear at his near post for a corner and moments later the Brave Warriors scored through Shilongo before Shonga’s free kick spoiled the home side’s party for a one-all draw.

In Maputo, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau also played to a 2-2 draw to remain top of the group on four points each while Namibia and Zambia are on a point each in Group K after two –match days.

Brave Warriors vs Zambia: Virgil Vries, Tiberius Lombard, Denzil Haoseb, Riaan Hananub, Ananias Gebhardt, Petrus Shitembi, Ronald Ketjijere, Wangu Batista Gome, Deon Hotto, Willy Stephanus, Sadney Urikhob,