Thrilling X-Mas Cup concludes festive sport

Otis Daniels_Finck
The annual SFC X-Mas Cup soccer tournament at Swakopmund once again lived up to expectations.

The event is known as the oldest competition of its kind on Namibian soil. This year’s edition, hosted once again by the Swakopmund Football Club (SFC), produced four days of 40 action-packed matches with 131 goals scored. Seven teams competed in the League Division and 10 teams, divided into two groups of five each, competed in the Social Division of the 65th edition of this popular tournament that allows both amateur and professional footballers to showcase their skills on the SFC grounds. The event also offers an opportunity for soccer teams from all over the country to showcase their skill in the off-season, and it promotes soccer.

Atlantis defeated SFC I with 2-1 in the final, and clinched the League Division, while Libertas defeated SFC Social in a sudden-death penalty shoot-out and won the Social Division. Both finals produced some entertaining football. Neither of the teams could manage to find the back of the net in the first half of the League Division final. Atlantis, which boasted three Elven Arrows and three Blue Waters stalwarts, however came out blazing in the second half. A goal by Angelo Kuezi took SFC I completely by surprise with Prince Jossop adding a second goal for Atlantis when play resumed. Leighton McGulty converted a penalty for SFC I. Referee Apollo Lungameni pointed to the spot after a foul on Ensley Gariseb in the box in the dying moments of the game.

“This is a proud moment for us. We have been trying to win this trophy for the past four years. We train at Atlantis and asked the club to enter us as a team into this year’s competition. Team spirit and experience ensured that we emerged as champions. Football is still on hold so we will see what next year holds for us, but we will be back. It was a great tournament,” said Luther Humphries, the Sparta captain and goalkeeper.

Libertas, which consists of a well-balanced mix of Namibian students at Stellenbosch University, as well as local players, saw off a determined SFC Social side, to clinch the Social Division trophy for the third time. Libertas previously won the trophy in 2016 and 2017. The scores stood level after full-time. Both teams created several chances but failed to put the ball into the back of the net.
This forced the game into a marathon penalty shootout. The shooters managed to convert three of the first set of five penalties with some misfiring their shots from the spot. Another four nerve-racking penalties followed before a Libertas player finally stepped up and scored the winner.

“Libertas has been competing in this tournament for over 20 years, and winning it is always something special and to be cherished. We will be back to defend our title for sure. We had a good vibe and energy going. The players were also committed to the cause,” said Friedhelm Gunzel the Libertas captain.