The 19th edition of the Namibian Newspaper Cup kicked off on Good Friday at a packed and colorful Mariental Satdium and the youngsters scored 32 goals in the opening nine games of the tournament that is powered by Standard Bank.
At dawn down, the stress of the sleepy town of Mariental about 300 players representing 14 regions in both, netball, and football led a parade to the Stadium and after the opening pleasantries, the first match finally kicked off.
Kharas Region took on Zambezi region in Group A and the former a led 3-0 at halftime time thanks to goals from Llewelyn Both, Man of the Match Petrus Kharas and Dandre Both. In the second half Zambezi regrouped and fought back to lose 4-3 as they scored through Wise Lifasi, Hans Muyeka before Romario Kambindu scored the fourth for Kharas. Lynton Shamu got the third for Zambezi.
Kavango East then took on Oshikoto still in Group A and they went ahead through Man of the match and captain Charles Hausiku. Kavango East then took a 2-0 halftime lead thanks to a goal from Max Napenda. However, Oshikoto got one, back in the second half through Charles Iitula to lose 2-1.
Match three saw Kunene face the home side Hardap in Group B and after an entertaining first halftime, Hardap failed to find the back of the net. In the second half through junior national team player, Johannes Hollombach scored the deciding goal to hand the host an opening win. Nama Berhadus !Gaoseb from Kunene walked away with the Man of the Match accolade.
Kavango West then took on Omaheke in the fourth match and the latter got the lead through their captain Nicodemus Haikali only for Thomas Sikera to equalizer for West. Omaheke however wen into the break leading 2-1 thanks to a goal from Mentholius Taseb in the second half the Omaheke added third goal to all but secure the points through Betuel Muzeu.
Otjozondjupa and Erongo then got Group C into action and eventually shard the spoils, 1-1 thanks to goals from Dion So-Oabeb for Otjozondjupa and the equalizer by Alex Kaongelwa. Nicky Daniels from Erongo won the Man of the Match award.
In the sixth match of Good Friday, Khomas and Omusati too got Group D underway and the boys from the capital led at halftime 1-09 with the goal by Lleyton Goliath. Man of the Match Godwin Eiseb scored number two for Khomas and then it was 3-0 thanks to Gerome Shikerete. Titus Kaustima pulled one back for Omusati before Pitsi Ameb made it 4-1. Lyakeelelwa Titus then got another one for Omusati for a finals core of Khomas 4-2 Omusati.
Kharas put one foot in the semifinals when they hammered Oshikoto 5-0 in their second Group B match under the floodlights. Simeon Namondi and Romario Kambindu gave Kharas a 2-0 halftime lead. Denzil Pieters, Petrus Kharas and Dandre Both then completed the rout in the second half against a hapless Oshikoto. Kharas goalkeper was brilliant and even saved a penalty and received the Man of the Match award.
Kavango East and Zambezi then met in Match 8 and it was Zambezi that took a surprising lead early on as Hans Muyeka bundled the ball in from inside the box to give his side the halftime lead. However East fought back and made it count as they equalized with a dominant second half performance through Kativa Ngongo. East should have won it had it not been for their woeful finishing.
Kunene Region came back strong for their second match of the day and led Omaheke Region 1-0 with the goal coming so early the first half through Isadore Jagger. Omaheke won a late penalty and Betuel Muzeu converted to make it 1-1 and to complete 32 goals scored in nine games of the 2019 The Namibian Newspaper Cup, powered by Standard Bank. Jagger won the Man of the Match award.