Civics falls to Arrows in Cup final
ELEVEN Arrows lived up to their billing as favourites when they won the prestigious Leo NFA Cup at the Kuisebmond Stadium in Walvis Bay. The coastal outfit capitalised on their home advantage to bury their Windhoek-based Civics opponents 2-0, with goals coming in both halves of the match. Leading up to this game, Arrows, through their coach, former Brave Warriors mid-field maestro Congo Hindjou, had stated that they were very confident of taking the N$ 600 000 at stake. And this was evident from the very first kick of the ball. Arrows were the more attacking side and they quickly took the lead, with Dumisa Jantze scoring with barely ten minutes gone in the first half.
The diminutive mid-field playmaker scored with a cross-cumshot from the right wing that left Civics goalie Esau ‘Pitso’ Tjiuoro in no-man’s land, after his initial corner was cleared back to him. That sent the capacity crowd at the stadium into raptures, but it also served as a wake-up call for last season’s NFA Cup finalists Civics. The Mighty Civilians almost restored parity immediately, with Lucky Maselesele nearly scoring, only to see his shot going over the bar. The nifty South African seemed to be in the mood to spoil Arrows’ party, as he continually showed good touches on the ball. However, his creative work found no outlet as his team went into the break trailing Arrows by a solitary goal. With Civics desperately searching for an equaliser in the second half, Arrows was able to withstand everything their more illustrious opponents could throw at them. As time ticked by, Arrows grew even more confident with their foreign striking force of Zimbabwean Peter Ngwenya and Zambian Patrick Banda coming close within minutes of each other. And it was becoming more evident that Civics was missing their talismanic captain, Heini Isaacks, who was suspended for this match.
They looked disjointed, with Maselesele having gone ostensibly quiet. Arrows took advantage of Civics’ lacklustre performance with Wacca Jossop, who had replaced the injured Jantze, adding even more potency to their attack. The young winger showed great pace and ingenuity, which troubled the Civics defence a great deal. His impact was demonstrated further when Civics’ defender Hans Witbooi brought him down in the penalty area after the Arrows attacker had burst into the 18-yard area. Former African stars winger, Freedom Puriza, duly stepped up to slot the penalty home and so effectively end Civics’ hope to win the trophy. Arrows had the chance to make the score more emphatic, but failed to take it.
However, they were not made to regret their missed chances as the referee blew the final whistle soon thereafter. That marked the start of joyous celebrations at the Kuisebmond Stadium, with Eleven Arrows winning their first trophy in nearly two decades. Civics though was not left empty-handed as they took home N$ 250 000 as a consolation prize, while their captain, Heini Isaacks, was crowned as the Player of the Series. He took home a cool N$ 25 000. Another recipient of N$25 000 was Veno Namolo, who received the Golden Boot Award for netting eight goals in the tournament. – Additional reporting courtesy of The Namibian Sun