OTJOZONDJUPA upset favourites and hosts Erongo 2-1 to win their second Newspaper Cup title during a captivating final match at the Vineta Central Sport Stadium at Swakopmund on Monday.
The Hardap region, who ousted 2016 champions Oshana on Saturday, ended the four-day tournament, supported by Nedbank, in third place after beating Khomas 1-0 in their playoff match.
Goals from striker Willem Kamesiepo and Romario Hawiseb ensured that the visiting Otjozondjupa emerged victorious over their rivals, who got their only goal through midfielder Patrick Naweb.
Otjozondjupa also had the tournament's best goalkeeper Paulus Abel and top scorer Michael Kamuserandu, who scored five goals, in their ranks.
The player of the tournament award went to 16-year-old Erongo centreback Lubeni Haukongo.
“I told the boys to go out and enjoy their football, and win. I told them that 'Erongo are favourites, but they are human just like you, so have no fear and play your game',” said winning coach Roba Gurirab.
While he did not get on the scoresheet on the day, captain Kamuserandu put in a man of the match display to lead his side to victory.
However, they had to weather an early storm as Erongo, with a vociferous crowd behind them, came out all guns blazing.
The first notable goalmouth action was provided by Erongo's flying winger Rivaldo Festus, who beat Abel with a rasping drive from the edge of the box. But the ball cannoned back off the bar thirteen minutes into the contest, which was played at a frantic pace.
Shortly afterwards, the dangerous Festus forced Abel to save with his legs with another well-struck effort just inside the penalty area.
Having survived that wave of pressure, Otjozondjupa hit their opponents with a devastating counter attack after 20 minutes, which ended with Kamesiepo heading the ball beyond a stranded Moses Shitayi in goals for Erongo.
Erongo continued to pin down Otjozondjupa in their own half, but the resilient champions-elect held firm until the break.
Two minutes into the second half, attacking midfielder Hawiseb's sweetly struck freekick put Otjozondjupa 2-0 up, which knocked the wind out of the home side's sails.
Erongo's consolation goal, and the 75th of the competition, came from the penalty spot midway through the second half after Festus was hacked down by right back Victory Mingeri inside the six- yard box.
Naweb stepped up to convert the spot kick and breathe new life into the contest.
But that exuberance led to the dismissal of left back Aprocius Petrus for dissent ten minutes from time, which effectively ended Erongo's fightback.
Further chances for either side failed to yield any goals as Otjozondjupa held on to claim their second title.
“My team fought very hard. Even with ten men, we were the better team. But we had many chances that we didn't take. It's down to inexperience, but I'm proud of them,” Erongo coach Wallace Doeseb said.
On Sunday, The Namibian and Nedbank teams, which feature the tournament's most impressive players, laboured to a 1-1 stalemate, with the women's national u20 side thumping the Erongo women's invitational team 7-0 in the other exhibition match earlier on the same day.
Brendon Kotungondo scored the only goal of the match to help the Hardap Region to a third-place finish at the expense of Khomas. Hardap's star player Johannes Hollombach walked away with the man of the match award.
Oshana walked away with the fair play accolade for their discipline on the pitch during the tournament.
The other individual prizes went to Willem Haitembu, who was selected as the best referee. The Katima Sports Complex at Katima Mulilo will host the 2018 The Namibian Newspaper Cup.
- Title: Otjozondjupa spoil Erongo party
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- Date: 6:06 PM