Namibian teams still hold penalty shootout world record

Michael Uugwanga

AS a Namibian I am very proud that Namibian footballers set the record for the longest penalty shootout in the world, thanks to the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Cup match between King Kauluma Palace and Civics FC that saw 48 penalties taken, resulting eventually in KK Palace winning the match by 17-16, following a 2-2 draw in normal time.

The marathon penalty shootout caught the attention of international media outlets, including BBC, CNN and many other media houses and the record is likely to stand for years to come. The record for the highest score in a penalty shootout was however set during the 1988 Argentine Championship, when Argentinos  Juniors beat Racing Club 20–19 after 44 penalties.

At times we should be proud of what we have achieved as a small football playing nation and this record needs to be recorded in our sporting archives. Some might not see it as a big achievement but there are those in the developed world who see it as an achievement and it has not gone unnoticed.

I was personally not working in the media during that time, but those sports journalists should have made this penalty shootout the biggest story of all every five years and use it as their headline on the back page, since it is 15 years ago that this happened.

Imagine if it was Lionel Messi or Christiano  Ronaldo holding the record for the longest shootout. We would probably not hear the end of it, just because the two players are regarded as the two greatest footballers of all time. We tend to sometimes overlook our own achievements that we should celebrate.

I didn’t come across any reports by any of our local media houses about this record in 2015 besides the Namibian newspaper on one occasion, that was 10 years after the record but now 15 years after the fact, it would be interesting for sport journalists to cover this story and find out from those players and coaches what it felt like to be part of the record-breaking sporting event that year.

In 2010, the NFA head of competitions Titus Kunamuene was surprised to learn that Namibia held the record for the longest penalty shootout in the world, which to me illustrates that the NFA should from time to time reflect on and publicise our sporting history and achievements.

“We didn’t think it was a record but I am very proud. But really at the end of the game everybody was more relieved than anything else,” Kunamuene told CNN in 2010.

So, herewith I am sending my belated congratulations and gratitude to both KK Palace and Civics for their endurance and sportsmanship and for setting the world record.