Mighty Gunners will meet African Stars next month in the Bidvest/ NFA Cup finals in Windhoek.
Gunners had a tough semi-final encounter against surprised package of this year’s competition Rundu-based United Stars from first division who took pushed all the way to extra time and then penalties after the game had ended one-all.
Skipper Harold Ochurub took his team Gunners into the lead when he scored in the first half before Stars’ Shimumu Alfred equalised from a 38-yard free kick just outside the Gunners’ goal post.
Shimumu also won the man of the match award and walked away with a cool N$2000 and a trophy from Bidvest.
The game also saw Ochurub receiving marching orders after two cautions thereby ruling out for the final game.
This could dash Gunners’ hopes of winning their first silverware in top flight football.
Stars could have won the game in the first half of the extra time but Alfred Aron wasted a clear goal scoring opportunity when he shot wide.
The game was then decided on penalties after both sides could not find the back of the net.
Gunners won 4-3 on penalties giving them the passage to the first-ever NFA cup final.
The second semi-final was between cup favourites African Stars and Rundu Chiefs who came in the game full of confident after knocking out one Orlando Pirates in the quarters.
Stars started of brightly with their lovely touches especially from their assembled collective of stars such as Rudi Louw, Bradley Werman, Riaan Cloete and Puriza Freedom who made things look easy on the pitch.
Chiefs never really looked like scoring as they lacked creativity from their midfield because they are yet to fill the position left by their playmaker Petrus Shitembi now playing in the ABSA Premiership in South Africa.
Stars finished off Chiefs courtesy of Katjiukua Chris and Korukuve Edwin goals.
Korukuve also won the man of the match award for the second time in this year’s competition. Like Shimumu, Korukuve also received N$2000 and a trophy.
Stars are now in the driving seat for winning three trophies in a season having already captured the NFA League Cup in September last year and are one point behind Black Africa on the league table.
A win against BA on Saturday will surely bring back the trophy they lost to BA two seasons ago.
In the event that they win back the trophy, Stars will have hopes for a treble.
Gunners’ coach Gehard Hengari said losing his skipper for the final is a setback.
“It is a big blow after receiving that red card. We will be short of numbers now up front,” said Hengari after victory against United Stars.
Meanwhile, African Stars coach Ali Akan still thinks his side could have done better against Chiefs and that his mandate when he took over at Stars was to win the league.
“We couldn’t lose on the trot especially after Eleven Arrows’ loss as it is not accepted. Mentally, we are focusing on the cup and the league and we could have scored more goals.
“In the beginning I said already about it (win the league). Against BA anyone who wins that game will surely win the league. There is no doubt about it,” said Akan.
The final of the Bidvest/NFA cup will be played on 1 June and the venue and time are yet to be confirmed but will be live on the national broadcaster NBC.