Namibia Book AFCON Round Of 16 With Draw Against Mali

Femi Onasanya By Femi Onasanya - Sports Reporter
3 Min Read

Namibia put up a strong fight against Mali to ensure they didn’t concede, ultimately securing their spot in the Afcon knockouts with a 0-0 draw on Wednesday.

Coach Collin Benjamin is the hero for Namibia, as he led the Southern African team to the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations. Despite their efforts, the match itself did not meet expectations.

The first significant opportunity arose in the 16th minute when Namibia’s Prins Tjiueza entered the box to provide support for his teammate. He received an excellent pass and took a close-range shot, but unfortunately, it hit the right post, much to Mali’s relief.

Both teams had a cautious game plan in this match, often staying back and waiting for opportunities to counterattack. This approach made the game rather unexciting.

In the 81st minute, Mali’s Dorgeles Nene entered the penalty box and was knocked down by an opposing player. However, the referee did not award a penalty.

Namibia had never won a game in the Afcon tournament before. However, in this tournament, they surprised everyone by defeating Tunisia in their first match. This unexpected victory caused a stir across the continent, as Namibia was considered a weaker team compared to Tunisia, who were ranked third in Africa.

Namibia’s mentor, Benjamin, achieved a historic milestone with the Brave Warriors by leading them to the round of 16. This accomplishment made them join South Africa and Angola as representatives of the Cosafa region. In the group stage, Namibia managed to score one goal in three games, which was enough to secure their spot as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Despite being ranked 51 in the FIFA world rankings as of December 2023, Mali suffered a defeat against the lower-ranked Namibia. However, they still advanced as the winners of their pool. This high ranking had raised expectations for Mali.

In the next round, Mali will face Burkina Faso, while Namibia is set to compete against Angola.

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By Femi Onasanya Sports Reporter
Femi is a sport enthusiast, writer and commentator. Passionate about Sports and physical therapy with a flair for writing.