Gobabis-based club Young African head coach Mali Ngarizemo says their tactics and a well-thought-out game plan was the determining factor in their 5-3 penalty shoot-out win against favourites Orlando Pirates during the MTC NFA Cup Round-of-32 clash on Saturday in Mariental.
Young African and Pirates played to a 0-all draw in an exciting but tightly-contested match at the Mariental sports stadium, where both teams had their fair chances of goal-scoring opportunities, but luck was on neither’s side.
After a closely contested first half and an equally tightly-contested second half, it was down to a penalty shoot-out. It was Young African who held their nerves during the spot kicks to emerge 5-3 winners over Pirates, who missed one penalty.
Speaking during the post-match interview, a jovial Ngarizemo admitted that it was not an easy encounter against a very competitive Pirates side, but was however quick to point out that their tactics and well-executed game plan proved to be the difference between the two sides on the day.
“Yes, I am happy because we are through to the next round of the competition, and that’s what is important. Tough luck to Pirates; they gave us a good game and we came here as underdogs but in the end, our tactics worked for us because we said, ‘let them have the ball and let us just sit back and wait and counter them’.”
“We created chances and that was very good for us, and we kept dragging on. I am happy we managed to win and proceed to the next round. We have got a couple of foreign players from Cameroon and Ivory Coast who are all waiting to be cleared - a striker and a top midfielder - and I think during the next round we will have a very formidable team that will be able to challenge for the cup,” he said.
Meanwhile, a disappointed Pirates’ head coach Woody Jacobs said his team had chances to score and kill off the game but unfortunately, they could not convert their chances. He added that his focus now turns fully to the Namibia Premier Football League (NPFL), where they are challenging for silverware.
“Our key striker Bio Gurirab is out injured and we went with what was available. Although we did not have our top striker, we managed to create chances. For me, it wasn’t all about who was there and who wasn’t; for me everybody in the team can play and at the end of the day we did not take our chances and now we are here knocked out of the MTC NFA Cup. Young African defended and gave it their all and made it difficult for us. They were the better team on the day,” said a dissatisfied Jacobs.
Two other NPFL teams - Julinho Sporting and Eleven Arrows - failed to progress to the next round of the competition, which is Namibia’s biggest football competition.
Teams that have qualified for the MTC NFA Cup Round of 16:
DTS Hopsol, Black Africa, Supa Eleven, Mighty Gunners, Young Brazilians, Blue Waters, Nossob, Tura Magic, Citizens, Tigers, Civics, Young African, Ohangwena NAMPOL, New Poison, Khuse Lions and Western Spurs.