Windhoek – Brave Warriors inspirational stand in skipper, Petrus “Dancing Shoes” Shitembi, was the catalyst in the Namibian senior football team’s victory in the annual Dr Hage Geingob Cup at the Sam Nujoma stadium in Windhoek on Saturday.
Namibia as host, fielding an experimental lineup, won 4-1 in the dreaded penalty shootout, following 1-al stalemate after regulation time. The much traveled attacking midfielder was given the enviable task of dispatching the decisive spot-kick and duly obliged as he coolly slotted the ball home to send the crowd into raptures to retain the trophy.
The two nations confronted each other for the 5th edition of the annual Dr. Hage Geingob Cup, which was watched by the Namibian Head of State in the company of friends and fellow compatriots. Teams lived up to the occasion as they came out playing entertaining football all the way to the nail biting penalty shootout.
Brave Warriors near man, Muna Katupose, put the hosts ahead with half an hour gone on the clock when he tuck the ball home from Abes Iimbondi – a well-executed delivery. Katupose was the quickest to react, and Ghanaian shot stopper, Eric Amwti, spilled his initial goal attempt. However, the visitors restored parity midway through the second half –with the imposing Shafiu Mumuni rising the highest above a static Namibian defense to connect with a well floated corner kick to draw the team’s level (1-1). It was an opening match that saw both teams creating numerous goal scoring opportunities –with the hosts’ enterprising midfielder, Dynamo Fredericks, skimming uprights on tow occasions, while the usually clinical Katupose shot tamely at Amtwi with the goal at his mercy.
The visitors’ Mumuni was a constant threat to the makeshift Namibian rearguard with his big frame and aerial power, while Captain Fantastic Mohammed Fatau, Justice Blay, and Kwesi Donsu also came close for the unlucky Black Stars. Veteran playmaker, Shitembi, wearing the captain’s armband in the absence of regular captain, Stigga Ketjiejere, was, without a shadow of doubt, the shining star bossing the midfield, but despite his influence – the Warriors had to settle for a draw after a 1-al stalemate with the result to be determined by the lottery of a penalty shootout.
Warriors’ prodigal son, Awillo Stephanus, and young midfield sensation, Marcel Papama, converted their spot kicks the hosts –with McCarthy Appiah replying for the Black Stars.
Kwadwo Amoako missed the target, allowing Immanuel Heita to put the result beyond Ghana’s reach with his successful attempt from the spot 3-1, while Fatau had his spot kick gathered by lanky goalie, Loydt Kazapua. All hopes were now pined on the tiny shoulders of Shitembi to seal victory, and the captain made no mistake as he neatly placed the ball in the back of the net to give the hosts an unassailable 4-1 cushion. Apart from the football, the match was capped with a colorful lineup of live entertainment by local artists who were led by Gazza, Exit, Female Donkey, Tequila, Tate Buti, and The Dogg – all keeping the appreciative crowd on their toes.
In the curtain raiser, Young Gladiators got their preparation for the forthcoming Region 5 Games off to a good start via a hard fought 1-0 win against their seniors, the national Olympic team.