Historic Triumph: Namibia Secures First-Ever Spot in AFCON Last-16

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In their final group game on Wednesday, Namibia secured their spot in the knockout phase of the Africa Cup of Nations for the very first time.

With a goalless draw against Mali, Namibia finished their Group E campaign with four points, earning them a place as one of the top four third-placed finishers.

Mali emerged as the group winners with five points, while South Africa claimed second place with four points, edging out Namibia due to their 4-0 victory over them on Sunday.

In the other Group E match, Tunisia was eliminated after a goalless draw with South Africa. Mali, the winners of the group, will now face Burkina Faso in Korhogo next Tuesday, while Namibia will play against Angola on Saturday.

Namibia had previously defeated Tunisia in their first group game, marking their first victory in the tournament after four appearances. Their qualification on Wednesday further solidified their achievement.

Despite suffering a 4-0 defeat against South Africa in their second group game, Namibia displayed no negative effects as they faced the formidable Mali team.

After 16 minutes, Namibia had the first opportunity when Prins Tjiueza skillfully maneuvered through the defense but unfortunately hit the upright with his shot. Captain Peter Shalulile attempted to capitalize on the rebound from point-blank range, but Mali’s goalkeeper Djigui Diarra made a crucial save.

READ ALSO: Cameroon’s Epic Comeback Propels Them to Last-16 in AFCON Classic

Mali’s first attempt came five minutes later when Fousseni Diabate unleashed a powerful left-footed shot towards the goal, but it was deflected away.

In the 28th minute, an excellent opportunity arose when Youssoufou Niakite delivered a tempting cross to Lassine Sinayoko, who was unmarked due to Namibia’s defensive lapse. However, Sinayoko failed to hit the target and steered the ball wide.

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It is worth noting that Sinayoko had previously scored in both of Mali’s group games against South Africa and Tunisia.

The second half was lackluster, with both teams appearing fatigued from their previous matches. Mali had two more half-chances, but neither resulted in a goal.

As the game neared its end, Amadou Dante’s free kick posed a threat, but Namibia goalkeeper Loydt Kazapua made a crucial save. Despite Mali’s late efforts, Namibia’s determined defending prevented them from finding the back of the net.

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