Jomo Cosmos left back, Riaan Hanamub is expected back in the country this week after playing for Namibia’s Brave Warriors in last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Zambia in a Group K Afcon qualifier.
Second half substitute Shilongo put Namibia ahead on 78 minutes when he stabbed home a pass from ex-Cosmos striker, Hendrik Somaeb following a through ball into the box from Petrus Shitembi.
Zambia however equalised in injury time when Justin Shonga’s free kick was deflected into the back of the net off a header from former Ezenkosi wing back, Ananias Gebhardt.
After the match, both coaches were satisfied with the result. Zambia coach Sven Vandenbroeck says his side’s fighting ability was key.
“It was a tight game and I’m pleased with my team’s character to come back from 1-0 down to get away with a point. Not an ideal result but a fair result. The reaction from the boys is commendable given the circumstances”.
Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti echoed his counterpart’s comments although he was disappointed with the result.
“It is a bitter pill to swallow for us. But given the circumstances of no league at home and a player like Somaeb coming back from injury and others lacking match fitness, we will take this result,” he said.
Back in Brave Warriors team, Willy Stephanus tested Zambian veteran goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene with a fine free kick on 15 minutes, which the latter tipped over for a corner kick.
Another Warriors returnee Sadney Urikhob left Stoppila Sunzu for dead on 35 minutes before playing an inviting ball in, which Stephanus squared off to Deon Hotto whose shot was blocked and cleared for safety.
A minute later, Riaan Hanamub won a tussle with Augustine Mulenga, and raced down the left wing before playing a fine ball for Hotto to chase and the latter’s shot was just wide of goal with Mweene in no-man’s land. Urikhob had another chance at goal in the closing stages, while Rainford Kalaba went close for Zambia heading over the bar.
Ten minutes into the second half, Paston Daka connected well with a cross and his first-time shot hit the upright. Zambia kept on attacking and 10 minutes later Mulenga blasted over the bar with only Namibian keeper Virgil Vries to beat.
Fashon Sakala also came close for Zambia, but it was Shilongo who scored the opening goal before Shonga’s late equaliser.
In Maputo, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau played to a 2-2 draw to remain top of the group on four points each while Namibia and Zambia are on a point each in Group K after two matches.
Hanamub, who made his Ezenkosi debut against TS Sporting, is expected to solidify the team’s back line when they travel to Maccabi FC on Sunday.
Brave Warriors starting XI vs Zambia: Virgil Vries, Tiberius Lombard, Denzil Haoseb, Riaan Hanamub, Ananias Gebhardt, Petrus Shitembi, Ronald Ketjijere, Wangu Batista Gome, Deon Hotto, Willy Stephanus, Sadney Urikhob.
-Mark Ogagan, Additional reports from www.namibian.com.na