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Sunday, October 1, 2023

COSAFA Cup: Eswatini upset Namibia as Group A continues to heat up

A day of exciting football at the 2023 COSAFA Cup finished up on Saturday with another comeback victory as Eswatini defeated Namibia 2-1 to keep their hopes alive of advancing out of Group A. Sifiso Matse and Bongwa Matsebula scored in quick succession for Eswatini towards the end of the first half after Absalom Limbondi gave Namibia the lead. Namibia, on one point from two games, will now need to defeat Botswana to have any chance of advancing and Eswatini can progress if they can pull off another upset against South Africa on Tuesday.

Neither team looked too threatening for the first half hour of the match but that only set the stage for a thrilling end to the opening forty-five minutes. In the 34th minute Namibia striker Elmo Kambindu was fouled outside the penalty area and Limbondi curled a delightful free kick past Eswatini goalkeeper Ncamiso Dlamini to open the scoring.

Head coach Collin Benjamin’s Brave Warriors appeared to be in control but with their backs against the wall, Eswatini responded with a strong end to the half. A quick midfield passing combination in the 41st minute saw Neliso Dlamini pass to Philani Mkhontfo who quickly moved the ball to Matse. The Royal Leopards midfielder had time to line up a hard low shot that snuck past Namibian keeper Edward Maova to equalize.

A disastrous close to the half was completed for Namibia after a long ball from the Eswatini defense was flicked on by Mxolisi Mkhontfo to find the run of Matsebula, who calmly put his shot between the legs of the onrushing Maova. Namibia attempted to push forward for a leveler in the second half but found it difficult against the Eswatini defense, who held the Brave Warriors to only one shot on target as they successfully bounced back from an opening match defeat to Botswana.

Highlights of the match from COSAFA TV are below.