Despite suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat against the Young Mambas of Mozambique in yesterday's Cosafa U/20 Cup final, Namibia's Young Warriors head coach James Britz has little to complain about and says his charges exceeded all expectations at the just-ended youth tournament.
In yesterday's post-match interview, Britz admitted although they would have loved to beat Mozambique and bring the trophy home for a historic first time, luck was unfortunately not on their side, as his boys failed on multiple occasions to convert clear-cut scoring opportunities into goals.
"To be honest, I am happy with the performance of the boys, as they exceeded our expectations. We had little time to prepare for this tournament - and based on that face, we were targeting to at least reach the semifinals but we made it all the way to the final. Today, we lost against a very good side that took their chances and we did not take our chances in front of goal - and in the end, we paid for that. But otherwise, I'm really happy for the boys; they really exceeded expectations," said an optimistic Britz.
Regardless of yesterday's outcome, both Namibia and Mozambique have already qualified for next year's U/20 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) to be held in Mauritania. The two countries qualified by virtue of being the 2020 Cosafa U/20 Cup finalists.
Mozambique yesterday made history by winning the regional title for the first time - thanks to a solitary effort by Dercio Augusto in the 31st minute. Augusto's free kick was tipped into the box - and somehow, the ball went through everybody and into the back of the net to give the Young Mambas the lead and would eventually be their winning goal.
Namibia would have been maiden winners too, but a much disciplined and tactically superior Mozambican side become just the fifth nation after Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Madagascar to take home the Cosafa U/20 trophy.
The Young Warriors had their chances in the game, but could not find a cutting edge in the box and had to settle for the silver medal, the second time they have been runners-up after also losing to Zambia in the 2010 decider. Namibia were handed the Fair Play prize and they will be delighted to have reached the continental finals in this age-group for the first time in their history.
Meanwhile, Angola picked up bronze for the third year in a row as they defeated defending champions Zambia 2-1 in yesterday's third-place playoff.