WINDHOEK, 3 JULY – After traveling a total of 4 200 kilometres around the country, the Neymar Jr’s Five soccer tournament organisers hosted the National Finals at UN Plaza in Windhoek over the weekend.
Teams from the central, northern and coastal areas of the country battled it out on a fast paced concrete court.
Every match was intense as a once in a lifetime experience of playing in Brazil at the World Finals on Saturday, 21 July 2018 was at stake. After going through intense group stages of the top sixteen teams, the Oshakati based team Lions, were eventually crowned the National Champions.
In the final match, Lions were up against the fan favourites; Windhoek based, Bethlehem United. Both teams cruised to the finals. Bethlehem United started off strong and almost outplayed the Lions. The Windhoek team came close to scoring on multiple occasions, but it was not their day.
Lions on the other hand kept their composure and remained focused until the last minute. The final match resulted in a draw of 0-0. As a result, the one-on-one rule had to be implemented to break the tie and decide which team will represent Namibia. Lions’ captain Pieter Hailombe netted the crucial goal that will now take his team to Brazil.
“This will be the first time for us to fly out of Namibia. We worked hard for this and it is a dream come true. Representing our country doing what we love, is the best thing ever. We look forward to the experience. Thank you Red Bull, Bank Windhoek and all the other sponsors for making this possible,” said Hailombe.
Lions’ team members are:
1. Pieter Fillemon Hailombe (26)
2. Johannes Kashiwapala David (22)
3. Onesmus Ndinelago Ashipala (22)
4. Erastus Kulula (21)
5. Josua Inga Mekela Jesus David (20)
6. Absalom Nghiiyelekwa Hatutale (20)
7. France Tangeni Shivute (26)
Bank Windhoek’s Chief Financial Officer, James Chapman, who witnessed the finals, said: “This is a great success story for our country and this has been a brilliant tournament since the beginning. Congratulations Lions, go and make us proud in Brazil. As a sponsor we will be there with you throughout the journey.”
Themed ‘Outplay Them All’, the Neymar Jr’s Five is a Red Bull initiative co-sponsored by Bank Windhoek. Snickers, Fresh FM and NBC, are also sponsors of the tournament.
Lions will be the first Namibian team to represent the country at the World Finals. They will have a chance to play against world-renowned and most expensive soccer player, Neymar Junior, who is currently in great form as he represents Brazil at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Sixty-four other countries, will aim for the same achievement. – NDN Staffer