Brave Warriors of Namibia Strangulate Former African Champion, Eagles of Tunisia 1-0 to Create Football Hiccups 

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By Eniola Olatunji 

The Brave Warriors of Namibia on Tuesday at the Ahmadou Coulibaly Stadium in Ivory Coast shocked the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia by a lone goal in a group E encounter.

The result which is the first ever victory of Namibia at any AFCON tournament final is far against the expectations of Journalists and football pundits who were expecting the former Continental champions to completely devour Namibia.

The Brave Warriors who played far above their records in African football contested every move on the pitch frustrating the game plans of the North Africans.

It was a late goal from Orlando Pirates player, Deon Hotto who had missed many chances in the game but he collected a pass from Muzeu who had brilliant touch line dribbles on the left flank, flicked a shot into the six yard box and a lurking unmarked Hotto nodded it in 88th minute for the coveted three points.

The result will be difficult for Tunisia to swallow because in the second round matches, Tunisia will meet never say die Mali on Saturday 20th January which is a must win match before going to meet another rock solid team in South Africa in their last group match. South Africa will face Namibia the new giant killers on Sunday 21st January at 9pm.

Namibia had more shots at goal 13-10 than Tunisia of which 6-4 were on target; but Tunisia dominated the ball possession 61-39% only to be frustrated by a defence that was ready to even defend playing the ball with their teeth; Tunisia stringed 446 – 273 passes with 76 -70% accuracy still showing that Namibia allowed them play the ball but disallowed conceding a goal. Namibia was ready to defend having 13-11 foul calls but the corner kicks were close 8-7 in favor of Tunisia.

The Brave Warriors of Namibia ranked 115 in the world is at the party for the fourth time. The team has never won a match at the Finals in their appearances in 1998; 2008 and 2019 but this year they told the world they have not come to win but to make impact. Interesting!

The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia ranked 28 in the world are in the party for the 22nd time with a title achieved in 2014.

The only time they met was in a friendly when Tunisia defeated Namibia at home 2-0 on 17th November 2007.

Namibia’s last five matches did show the team as a warrior they said they are. She lost 4-6 to Botswana on 3rd August 2023; played goalless with South Africa in another friendly on 9th September 2023 in Jo’Borg; lost to Guinea by a lone goal in a world cup qualifier on 19th November 2023; celebrated a 3-0 victory over Sao Tome and Principe on 21st November 2023 and played goalless with Ghana in a friendly on 10th January 2024 before the AFCON games in Ivory Coast.

Tunisia won a Bronze at Ethiopia 62 beating Uganda 3-0; hosted in 1965 and lost to Ghana in the finals 3-2 after Extra Time to cart home the Silver medal; placed 4th at Ghana 78 losing to Nigeria 0-2; funny they hosted in 1994 but did not go near the podium; came back for the Silver at South Africa 96 losing 0-2 to the hosts; when Nigeria and Ghana co-hosted in 2000 she placed 4th losing again to South Africa 4-3 on penalties after 2-2 at full time and at Egypt 2019 Nigeria displaced the North Africans to the 4th place by a lone goal.

An outstanding group E game between Mali and South Africa expected as Thriller at Coulibaly Stadium is at 9pm tonight.

Tomorrow Wednesday 17th January 2024 two matches of Group F will be played. Morocco versus Taifa Stars of Tanzania is at 6pm and DR Congo will slug it out with Zambia at 9pm. That encounter will end first round matches at AFCON.

Two star matches are coming up on Thursday. Ivory Coast battle Nigeria at 6pm in group A, while the clash between Egypt and Ghana at 9pm in Group B will be explosive. But then Equatorial Guinea and Guinea Bissau will fight for supremacy in Group A at 3pm.

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