Goals from the ever-green Peter Shalulile and industrious midfielder Absalom Iimbondi yesterday were enough to help Namibia’s Brave Warriors produce a second-half masterpiece to beat five-time African champions Cameroon 2-1 in the second leg of their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
The two sides locked horns at the Dobsonville stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Namibia was out to ensure they moved a step closer towards qualification to next year’s Afcon finals in Ivory Coast, while favorites Cameroon were equally out on the same mission.
But it was the highly-determined Namibians who got the job done in the tightly-contested match, thanks to the 55th and 79th-minute heroics of
Shalulile and Iimbondi.
At the other end, Vincent Aboubakar scored late to get a consolation for the Indomitable Lions, who knelt to a shocking defeat against the unrelenting Namibian side.
The victory saw the Warriors climb top of the Group C with five points after three games, with Cameroon now sitting second with four points, also from three games. Burundi remain bottom of the group with one point with two games in hand.
Whichever way one looks at it, yesterday’s win technically means
Namibia has already qualified for the 2023 Afcon finals due to a superior head-to-head advantage against both opponents.
Namibia still have one more match against Burundi on 12 June, and a win or even a draw would be enough to cement their status. Cameroon is now under pressure to beat Burundi, whom they face in September in order to boost their chances of qualification.
Burundi is the only team in Group C with two games in hand – against Namibia and Cameroon, but even if they win both those matches, Namibia will still qualify as the group’s second-best team and Cameroon will then be knocked out.
The Warriors’ memorable win against the multiple continental former champions was widely welcomed both at home and within the region, with President Hage Geingob being amongst the first to take to social media to congratulate the team for a hard-fought but well-deserved victory.
“As their Commander in Chief, I told the Brave Warriors to beat Cameroon. They obeyed their Commander in Chief. A terrific performance by the Brave Warriors! Well done Warriors for taming the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. Congratulations on qualifying for #AFCON2023Q. The players and staff deserve our praise as a nation,” posted the Head of State.
The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations is scheduled to be the 34th edition of the biennial edition and will be hosted by Ivory Coast for the second time.
This edition of the tournament was supposed to be the third taking place in the northern hemisphere summer since the 2019 edition to reduce scheduling conflicts with European club teams and competitions.
However, Caf postponed this edition
to January and February 2024 due to weather concerns in the host country during the summer. Senegal are the defending champions.