UNPRECEDENTED scenes of joyous celebrations erupted on Saturday at the southern town of Karasburg after home club Young Brazilians (YB) earned a historic promotion to the country's top-flight league.
When the final whistle blew, delirium took over as hundreds of fans poured onto the Karasburg High School's football field to celebrate with their history-making heroes, who beat Swakopmund outfit Blue Boys 3-1 in the second leg of their play-off match. The first leg had ended in a 2-2 stalemate a week earlier.
Players and fans alike were overcome by emotion at the realisation that their dream had come true.
The jubilant players and supporters also took to the streets of the southern town to celebrate the team's promotion to the Namibia Premier League (NPL).
The team's president, Daniel 'Dimos' Vries, described winning promotion as “a dream come true”.
He said it had taken years of dedication for the club he founded in 1997 to achieve its long-held dream to play in the top league.
“Over the years, we've been building our dream, and finally it came true,” said a visibly ecstatic Vries.
“I'm very proud of my team,” he added.
The team climbed the football ladder at a steady pace. It reached the second division in 2011, and progressed to the Southern Stream First Division (SSFD) Inland Stream in 2012. Last year, it finished second on the SSFD league table.
The boys from Karasburg headed into their clash with Blue Boys knowing they would be playing in the top flight next season if they pulled off a win.
Spurred by the immense atmosphere created by the home fans, the Karasburg boys put the visitors under pressure, resulting in Blue Boys conceding an own goal in the 30th minute.
The coastal team, however, equalised in the 37th minute from a set-piece.
Three minutes later, YB again took the lead after Regional Vries headed a free kick into the net.
The Karasburg side dominated ball possession in the second half, and they were rewarded just a few minutes after the restart when Vries again put his name on the scoring board by slotting a cross from the right into the goal.
Blue Boys pushed for a goal as the second half went on, but could not breach the YB backline. Their coach, Christy Guruseb, said in an interview after the final whistle that “poor defending on set-pieces” cost his team the game.
“It is heartbreaking,” he said of the team's loss that robbed them of a chance to join the top league. Both teams needed a win to secure their place in the top-flight.
Young Brazilians' coach Tolla van Wyk said of the promotion: “I told the boys to just play their own football”.
However, he was quick to say some changes in tactics and player combinations also resulted in the win.
Van Wyk said the team's determination finally paid off with them now rewarded to play the new season in the NPL.
- Title: Young Brazilians (YB) earned a historic promotion to the country's top-flight league.
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- Date: 9:20 PM