Namibia held by Tunisia in World Cup qualifier

Namibia drew again in World Cup qualification on Sunday, emerging the better of Tunisia in their Group I clash at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg but proving unable to finish off the job.

The goalless draw sees Tunisia stay two points ahead of second placed Namibia in the group standings.

Tunisia had their 100% start to the campaign for a place at the 2026 finals in North America ended by the Brave Warriors but moved onto 10 points while Namibia are on eight.

Namibia dominated the exchanges in the cold Johannesburg weather and were looking to reprise their shock win over the Tunisians at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in the Ivory Coast in January.

But this time, the north Africans, who have been to seven previous World Cups, managed to hold out despite spending much of the game on the back foot, furiously defending the goal.

Namibia, again without their talismanic striker Peter Shalulile, had all of the best chances, starting as early as the sixth minute when Erastus Kulula flashed a header over the Tunisia crossbar.

He had been set up by Ivan Kamberipa, who headed a corner into the danger zone for Kulula to miss from close range.

The Brave Warriors did have the ball in the net after 14 minutes when Deon Hotto’s free kick was spilt by Tunisia goalkeeper Bechir Said and bundled in by centre back Charles Hambira.

But the Mauritanian referee Dahane Beida adjudged that Kulula had fouled the goalkeeper after he spilt the ball, although television replays suggested there was minimal contact, and that Tunisia were fortunate to get the reprieve.

Hotto had another freekick four minutes later but put it over the top. He had struck the woodwork with a set piece in Namibia’s previous qualifier against Liberia last Wednesday that ended in a 1-1 draw.

Bethuel Muzeu showed blistering pace as he raced down the right flank and struck a firm cross towards goal but no teammate was on hand to guide it in.

Tunisia were stronger in the second half but still Namibia’s goalkeeper Loyt Kazapua was largely under employed while Namibia did not manage to conjure up any clear chances of their own.

Both countries next compete in World Cup qualification in March next year.