20 May 2018 11:31
African Stars edged University of Namibia (UNAM) 1-0 to win the Debmarine Namibia Cup final at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek on Saturday.
Second half-substitute Treasure Kauapirura got the only goal of the hard-fought match on 74 minutes to secure victory for Stars and complete a clean sweep of domestic silverware, following their league success last month.
“I think winning is always gratifying. Winning the match was not easy, taking into account that we were under extreme pressure to win this one,” said winning coach Bobby Samaria.
“Everybody took it for granted that we should win. The emphasis was not on the double, but winning the match. Once you win the match, the double sorts itself out.”
Indeed, Stars can count themselves fortunate to emerge victorious and with a clean sheet after UNAM had a goal controversially chalked off on the stroke of half-time when young full-back Ivan Kamberipa inadvertently put the ball into the back of his own net. The goal was disallowed after UNAM forward Macgyver Manchester United was adjudged to have handled the ball in the lead up to Kamberipa's skewed clearance.
Stars coach Bobby Samaria rang the changes at the start of the second half, replacing ineffective top marksman Panduleni Nekundi and holding midfielder Alfeus Handura with utility man Kauapirura, to play on the right wing, and playmaker Neville Tjiueza. The changes proved a masterstroke as Stars took control of the match and forced UNAM to play on the break.
Incessant Stars pressure paid off when Kauapirura's glancing header, from an inswinging delivery from dimunitive forward Ambrosius Amseb, nestled in the back of the net which spark scenes of delirium in the stands.
UNAM pegged their rivals back in search of an equaliser which nearly came in added time courtesy of left-back Edmund Kamabanda whose rasping drive from just inside the box was saved brilliantly by Stars' keeper Mbazuvara Ratanda with his right foot.
Stars, who also captured the double in 2010 during Samaria's first stint, now hold the outright record for the most FA Cup titles, with five to their name since Namibia's Independence in 1990. They previously shared the record with Chief Santos, who were relegated to the first division last month.
The winners pocketed N$500 000 (39,000 US Dollars), while UNAM got N$250 000. The champions also bagged the majority of individual prizes, with Samaria winning the Coach of the Tournament award worth N$15 000; attacking-midfielder Godwin Jena sharing the top scorer award with Civics’ Donald Geiseb (N$10 000 each) for their eight goals apiece; while Mbazuvara won the goalkeeper of the tournament award (N$15 000).
UNAM midfielder Marcel Papama won the N$20 000 player of the tournament prize.