23 April 2019

Namibia: Namondi Writes History for //Kharas

THE //Kharas region ended decades of drawing blanks when 19-year-old Simeon 'Kante' Namondi scored the winning goal in their 2-1 victory over Otjozondjupa to lift the The Namibian Newspaper Cup for the first time, at the Mariental Sports Stadium on Monday.

The Aussenkehr-native was also named player of the tournament after he collected four man of the match awards, including one for his outstanding display in the final match.

Like the indefatigable French international midfielder N'golo Kante after whom he is christened, a sheepish Namondi seemed embarrassed at all the attention his exploits generated.

"I am very proud because //Kharas had not won this tournament but finally we have done it," Namondi said.

"We have mostly been always knocked out at the group stages. We came here to make the //Kharas region proud. We came here for the trophy and got exactly what we wanted," he continued.

"We know that we were the best team. We know we made history and that is something we will be remembered for."

Having ousted 2018 champions Omaheke 4-3 on penalties in the semi-finals on Saturday, a buzzing //Kharas carried that winning form into the deciding contest in which they were the betterof the two sides.

It was therefore no surprise when they took the lead just seven minutes from the start, when winger Heinrich Plaatjies found the back of the net with a delightfully placed curling right-foot effort from the edge of the box.

Otjozondjupa pulled level through substitute striker Ulipianus Ameb who raced through the heart of the //Kharas defence to slot the ball under and onrushing goalkeeper of the tournament Fritz Narib.

However, Namondi, who ran the show along with his central midfield partner Romario Kambindu, grabbed the winner five minutes from time with a glancing header from a floated free kick.

Jubilant //Kharas head coach Neville Willemse lauded his boys for their historic achievement, which he put down to meticulous preparations for the 19th edition of the tournament.

"I'm very happy for these boys. They have made history for our region and deserve all the credit for this big achievement. The driving force behind this victory was the desire to make history," Willemse said.

"Also, hard work really pays. Our preparations went very well, we got a fitness specialist to help us and the boys stuck to the plan which worked well for us against a tough opponent.

"Back home, I'm sure they are waiting for us to celebrate this great occasion. I think this will inspire other youth's to follow in the team's footsteps.

Otjozondjupa coach Robba Gurirab lamented his side's overall display, saying they lacked the required intensity for a match of that magnitude.

"From my perspective, we let them play and if you let your opponent play, they come out guns blazing. But in the second half we came back and scored the equaliser then we lost concentration for their last goal, which for me, was offside," Gurirab said.

Sharp shooters Chris Jacobs from Hardap region and Godwin Eiseb from Khomas, shared the top scorer award with four goals apiece.

Filipus Nghilinganye won the referee of the tournament prize, with Angula Angula named the best assistant referee.

Oshana Region took the fair play award for going through the competition without any cautions in the tournament.

ELEGANT ERONGO

Meanwhile, Erongo were crowned champions of the netball section following their 45-28 over Khomas.

The girls from the coast were lethal in front of the hoops and led 11-6 at the end of the first quarter, before extending that advantage to 15-8 by half-time.

The elegant Erongo girls made it 20-10 by the third quarter before comfortably seeing out the match.

Earlier on Monday, Kunene region narrowly beat Omaheke 34-33 in a tightly contested third place playoff match.

The individual prizes were highlighted by Mesututjike Hange who won the best player of the tournament award, while her teammate Rochelle Roetz was the best shooter, and Kunene's Charmaine Musasa was the best centre, with the best defender Tjinomasa Kahira of Otjozondjupa region.

Joanita Kahuure got the best umpire award.

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