Katutura outfit Swallows outplayed Athletic Club Football Academy (AFCA) by a 4-0 scoreline during the 2023 U/19 MTC HopSol Youth League in the first leg of the top eight knockout stages at the Jan Möhr Football Field on Friday.
The result puts Swallows in a comfortable position ahead of the second leg as they look forward to reaching the finals of this year’s competition.
ACFA fielded nine players for the match, which cost them dearly as Swallows made sure to outwit them in all key positions.
ACFA’s coach, Ricky Averia, was pleased with the boy’s performance, despite the shortage in his arsenal.
“I think today was tough for them, but they did well in the second half of the match. I am very proud of them because I always tell them it’s not how we start, but how we finish the game,’’ he said.
Averia felt that since it’s a youth development league, he would rather lose with disciplined players than indisciplined players, hence the number of boys that showed up for game day.
“I’m hoping that they can take a lesson from here, especially coming from the developmental side of things. I congratulate them, and it’s only the first half; you never know what can happen in the second leg,’’ he cautioned Swallows.
He added that his squad was also facing a few injuries, and there are chances that they will play the same team in the next match.
“I’m committed to our principles. We also have to understand that this age group is difficult because some may miss practice, as the exams are upon us, but the fitness levels are not at their peak, so I congratulate them on their win,” he said.
Swallows coach Jacobus Stein was delighted with the score, as his boys prepared well for the match and delivered.
“I told my boys they were two men down, so we just had to keep the ball and stretch them out and get them on the counterattack, and get the result we wanted,’’ he explained.
Stein felt that his boys must still learn how to play against opposition teams with fewer players without rushing it.
“We are in the top eight of the knockout stages, and I told my boys we can get kicked out anytime, and we should be able to grab every opportunity with both hands. I’m very happy with their performance today and winning the first leg.’’
He said for the next game, they will work on their defensive abilities as well as playing from the back.
Elsewhere, CBS was stunned in their first-leg encounter when Kaizen Football Academy (KFA) snatched a last-minute goal to win that match 1-0 later Friday evening.
CBS Coach Henrico Botes said the boys lacked self-belief.
“Incidentally, we practised finishing yesterday, and there’s no excuse for our play today. I think KFA has a strong team and has been together for a while. They had a penalty my keeper saved, but I think all in all, we got stronger towards the end of the first half. In the second half towards the end, we lost concentration, and the boys got a little bit tired, but well done to KFA, and we will see them in the next leg,’’ he said.
Llewelyn Bock of KFA said they knew beforehand the type of game CBS plays, but they were a little surprised by the game plan.
“CBS did not try to keep possession in today’s match, which they are known for. We knew their tactical set-up, and it was going to be very difficult in all facets of the game,’’ he said.
Bock noted that their opponents played the long ball, which favoured his side, as his fullbacks are very fast, while his team preferred to build from the back.
“We were quite prepared to battle them in our backline, but they never offered us the opportunity to do so. We created a lot of opportunities on the sides but nothing in front of the goal, which we could say we could have buried,’’ he concluded.