Namibia fought back strongly but were unable to avoid a second successive defeat to Mali and now have only a slim chance to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon in 2022.
The 2-1 loss in Windhoek on Tuesday night left Namibia stuck on three points from four matches in Group A, five behind second placed Guinea with Mali top of the table and already guaranteed a top two finish and progress to the finals.
Effectively, the Brave Warriors would have to beat Guinea away and Tanzania at home in their last two games to stand any chance and hope that Mali do them a favour on the last day of the qualifiers in March and beat Guinea too.
Mali sprung into an early lead when Sekou Koita slammed home a 13th minute shot. Namibia had been forced to leave out their English-based defender Ryan Nyambe because of a last minute injury before kick off.
Mali double the lead when Moussa Doumbia caught out home goalkeeper Virgil Vries at the near post to make it 2-0 after 37 minutes.
But Namibia pulled one back almost immediately with a strong header from Elmo Kambindu at the end of Absalom Iimbondi.
But the closest they came to a second half equaliser was when Riaan Hanamub hammered the ball against the upright some seven minutes from time.
It was Vries who kept Namibia in the contest, after he saved El Bilal Toure’s 59th minute penalty after Riaan Hanameb had fouled Doumbia in the penalty area. Toure has beaten Vries from the spot last week when Mali beat Namibia 1-0 in Bamako.