Kigali — Namibia's senior football team, the Brave Warriors, came from two goals down to force a 2-all draw against hosts Rwanda in their 2-legged international friendly in Kigali on Wednesday evening that saw the visitors denied what looked like a legitimate penalty appeal in the dying minutes of the match.
According to assistant coach, Ricardo Mannetti, Namibia should have been awarded a penalty in added time, but to the amazement of all in the stadium, the Ugandan referee waved play on - turning a blind eye to an obvious and deliberate handball.
"With the result standing at 2-all - the Rwandan keeper committed himself to block Henrico Botes' goal-bound shot. Sadney Uri-Khob was quick to respond but his shot too was blocked off the line by the outstretched hand of a Rwandan defender - however, the match official would have none of that. It could have been one of the most [remarkable] comebacks for the Warriors even though it was just a friendly match."
The decisive 2nd leg in Kigali saw Rwanda firing in two unanswered goals after a goalless first half to surge ahead 2-0.
However, with about 20 minutes left on the clock, the Warriors technical staff rang in new changes and introduced the trio of Petrus Shitembi, Awilo Stephanus and Sadney Uri-Khob. The arrival of the trio immediately changed the complexion of the game completely.
The presence of Uri-Khob alongside Botes upfront started to trouble the rearguard of the hosts and the first goal was a great combination that involved all three substitutes, with Botes hitting the ball home on 72 minutes. Moments later, the fired-up Warriors were on level terms again.
Ramblers overlapping fullback Larry Horaeb tapped home from close range in a crowed box and the goal changed the pattern of the game - leaving the unnerved hosts panicking. "We had this group of players for some time now and one can see we are improving in every match we have played. It was much better than when we played at home and Ramblers all-rounder Emilio Martin [displayed] a sterling performance in the midfield, but the entire team also showed great resistance in the end," concluded Mannetti.