Namibia claimed an excellent 3-1 victory over hosts Mauritius at the 2016 COSAFA Under-17 Championships on Saturday to open their Group A campaign with a win at the Stade Anjalay in Belle Vue Maurel.
South Africa also collected three points with a slender but deserved 1-0 victory over Seychelles at the same venue later on as the pair took charge of the pool after the first round of matches.
Namibia were most impressive though as their win came despite finishing the game with 10 players.
They had the lead inside five minutes when the exciting Eldery Morgan bundled the ball home after a scramble in the Mauritian box.
Both sides had chances in the remainder of the first half but there were no more goals before the break.
Mauritius had their equaliser midway through the second period though as Neehal Hurdoyal scored directly from a corner, much to the annoyance of Namibia keeper Josef Phillipus.
And things really looked to be headed the home side’s way when Stanley Ndjavera received a second yellow card for Namibia and they were reduced to 10 men.
But within three minutes Namibia were ahead with a fine solo goal as Rivaldo Laksman dribbled his way past three defenders to slot the ball home.
And the points were made safe five minutes from time when Abram Tjahikika got a third as he converted a cross from Immanuel Isaya.
South Africa were less convincing in their victory but certainly created enough opportunities to have won by a greater margin.
In the end the only goal of the game was scored by Siphamandla Ntuli when he turned home a cross by Luke Fleurs on 36 minutes.
The South Africans had a host of opportunities after that, but failed to hit the target with many and had to settle for the 1-0 success.
The action continues on Sunday when we have the second round of matches played in Group B.
Zambia and Malawi (kick-off 12h00 local, 08h00 GMT) clash in a titanic tussle between the two sides who had opening day wins on Friday.
For the victor, if there is to be one, it would mean a massive step towards the semifinals. Zambia opened their campaign with a 4-0 victory over East African guest nation Kenya, while Malawi beat Madagascar 2-1.
Kenya and the Malagasy (KO 15h00 local, 11h00 GMT) must get a win to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive.
Both games will be played at the Stade St Francois Xavier in Port Louis.
SATURDAY’S GROUP A RESULTS
Mauritius 1 (Hurdoyal 67’) Namibia 3 (Morgan 5’, Laksman 80’, Tjahikika 85’)
Seychelles 0 South Africa 1 (Ntuli 36’)
SUNDAY’S GROUP B FIXTURES
Kenya vs Madagascar (KO 12h00 local, 08h00 GMT) – Stade St Francois Xavier
Zambia vs Malawi (KO 15h00 local, 11h00 GMT) – Stade St Francois Xavier
Group A P W D L GF GA Pts
Namibia 1 1 0 0 3 1 3
South Africa 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
Seychelles 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
Mauritius 1 0 0 1 1 3 0
Group B P W D L GF GA Pts
Zambia 1 1 0 0 4 0 3
Malawi 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Madagascar 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
Kenya 1 0 0 1 0 4 0
Matches played: 4
Goals scored: 12
Biggest victory: Zambia 4 Kenya 0 (Group B, July 22)
Most goals in a game: 4 – Zambia 4 Kenya 0 (Group B, July 22); Mauritius 1 Namibia 3 (Group A, July 23)
2 goals – Nicholas Mulilo (Zambia)
1 – Raphael Banda (Malawi), Franck Chizuze (Malawi), Neehal Hurdoyal (Mauritius), Damiano Kola (Zambia), Rivaldo Laksman (Namibia), Eldery Morgan (Namibia), Fabrizio Mosa (Madagascar), Kunda Nkandu (Zambia), Siphamandla Ntuli (South Africa), Abram Tjahikika (Namibia)