AFCON 2023: Namibia Stun Tunisia To Record First Ever AFCON Win

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Namibia produced a huge upset in the opening round of group E matches as Deon Hotto’s 88th-minute header secured victory over Tunisia to send shock waves across the continent. The Brave Warriors – ranked 115th in the world, and without a victory in any of their previous nine AFCON matches – were worthy winners in Korhogo.

Striker Peter Shalulile had an earlier effort cleared off the line but Hotto pounced from Bethuel Muzeu’s cross. Tunisia, 2004 champions, are 87 places above Namibia in Fifa’s standings. The remarkable result means Namibia is second in the table on goal difference; following Mali’s 2-0 win over South Africa in the later Group E fixture at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium.

Even in the context of several early surprises in Ivory Coast, it would have been fanciful to anticipate victory for a team that had failed to escape the group stage in three previous attempts against far more experienced and decorated opponents. Namibia’s return to AFCON after failing to qualify in 2021 pitted them against a side which 16th successive appearance is a tournament record; reaching the quarter-finals in three of the last four editions, and finishing fourth in 2019.

Namibia manager Collin Benjamin had vowed that his players would live up to their nickname and sternly test any team they face. He added that the victory over the 2004 champions was extra special as no one really gave them a chance. “It’s an ecstatic feeling that I can’t describe. I am proud to be Namibian, and be a coach of these players. We were never really given a chance. We are just happy that we could go on the field and play a good match, and win. I can only imagine what is happening in the streets of Namibia right now. This victory is dedicated to them.”

The former national team captain also cautioned that there was still a lot of work to be done and that tomorrow would be a completely new day. “Tonight, of course we celebrate, but tomorrow it is back to normal. Back to grinding and working hard as a team, and for our people back home,” concluded Benjamin.

Tunisia, which five-match run of clean sheets came to an end, will return to action at the same venue to meet Mali on Saturday (20:00 GMT), while Namibia will play its second game there against South Africa 24 hours later.

Team P GD Pts

1 Mali 1 2 3

2 Namibia 1 1 3

3 Tunisia

1 -1 0

4 South Africa 1 -2 0

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