Namibia’s national Under 20 soccer team face an uphill battle to reach the second round of the African Youth Championship qualifiers after they lost their first leg home match 2-0 against Rwanda on Saturday.
The two sides met at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek and it was the hosts who had the first initiative as striker Terdius Uiseb saw his shot skimming the cross bar after only seven minutes.
Rwanda’s first chance came from a counteratack when Kipson Atuheire received a cross from the left but his cracking shot went wide of Edward Maova’s goal.
The sides then evenly matched each other until the 34th minute when Mapenzi Muwanei rounded off a great move for Namibia to hit thr back of the net, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Ruhinda Farouk struck a clever free kick for Rwanda, but Namibian keeper Maova managed to tip it over for a corner. Maova the pulled off two massive saves in quick succession from the resultant corner off the inspiring Bonny Mronye.
On the stroke of halftime, Namibian winger Enrico Hoebeb had an appeal for a penalty turned down and was subsequently yellow-carded for a dive.
In the second half, the Rwandans were quick out of the blocks and three minutes after the restart their captain Energy Bayisenge appeared unmarked at the far post as he slotted home from close range.
Rwanda continued to apply pressure and Bonny Mronye was at it again as he came close with a fine shot that was well saved by Maova.
Rwanda however got their second goal when Moava turned from hero to villain on 63m. He first pulled off a great aerial save but then his poor clearance deflected off a Namibian defender and Kipson Atuheire was quick to pounce and tap the ball into the net.
Namibian substitutes Keimuine Itamunua and Lee-Roy Adams came close to pulling one back as first Keimuine missed the far post by inches with a powerful shot, while Adams had his 30m shot parried over for a corner.
Namibian coach Ricardo Mannetti said his side would have to correct their mistakes ahead of the second leg match in Kigali, Rwanda on May 5.
“Our team is just 14 days old and it was the very first time that they played together. The lads were probably over-excited, while they also failed to stick to the game plan,” he said.
Mannetti said he expected to at least get a goal back in the return leg and he will not be making any major changes to his squad.
“We have a mountain to climb because we will have to score at least three goals down there. It won’t be easy but we will do our best. We lost today due to two individual errors and we have to reduce them and work more on keeping the ball.”
“I won’t be making any major changes to the side, it will be unnecessary because now these guys are starting to click and they deserve to be given a chance to prove themselves once again,” he added.
Namibia lose 2-0 to Rwanda