Nekundi scores to send Namibia into CHAN quarterfinals


Panduleni Nekundi came off the bench to score a dramatic winner for the Brave Warriors as they bested Uganda 1-0 and advance to the quarterfinals of the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) finals and set up a tantalizing final Group B game against Zambia on Monday in Casablanca.

In the game in which Namibia again played smart and cautious, Uganda dominated ball possession but it was the Ricardo Mannetti’s trump card, Panduleni Nekundi who found space in the box to hit home the winner in added time on Thursday night.

Earlier on, Namibia first chance came on 33 minutes as debutant Vitapi Ngaruka played a long ball forward and on raced Hendrick Somaeb who sliced the ball over the advancing Uganda goalkeeper Rashid Watenga and the ball agonizingly fell onto the roof of the net.

Dynamo Fredericks continued to work hard in midfield with his partner captain Ronald Ketjijere while Lodyt Kazapua saved his own blushes with a second ball block after failing to hold onto a corner, as Uganda racked up ball possession and Namibia defended smartly.

On 36 minutes, Riaan Hanamub came forward and his combination play with Petrus Shitembi resulted in Absalom Iimbondi having a cracker from range which was comfortable for Watenga.

In the second half, Itamunua Keimuine came on for Somaeb and six minutes later Junias Theophilus decided to pass onto Shitembi while going for goal was a better option and moments later Kazapua produced another match saving save, as he saved a goal bound shot and Hambira cleared the leftovers.

Hambira continued his timely play and on 71 minutes tackled well in the box to avoid a penalty and four minutes later, substitute Panduleni Nekundi, who came on for Junias won a free kick for Namibia that saw his challenger Timothy Dennis end off after a second yellow card.

Nekundi could have scored on 82 minutes as a fine ball from Iimbondi from the left felt for him inside the small balk, but he shot straight at the goalkeeper.

The Brave warriors will travel to Casablanca on Friday to go and prepare for their final Group B game against neighbors Zambia on 22 January in Casablanca. Both sides have six points and will play to finish on top of the group. Albeit guaranteed qualification.