Namibia stunned Tunisia with a brave 1-0 victory in the opening Group E game at the Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly in Korhogo.
Five players who feature in the DStv Premiership were named by Collin Benjamin in the Brave Warriors starting XI.
Tunisia tried to take control early on, and had their first chance in the fourth minute but Lloyd Kazapua made a good reflex save to keep out Taha Yassine Khenissi’s header.
But Namibia showed they weren’t going to just sit back, and in the sixth minute, Peter Shalulile had his first chance of the game for Namibia, but Bechir Ben Said saved the Mamelodi Sundowns striker’s first-time attempt. A minute later, Shalulile once again tested Ben Said, but this time his effort lacked power, while Petrus Shitembi’s follow-up was blocked.
Benjamin’s team began to threaten, though they were just unable to finish off a couple of good moments.
While Tunisia still just edged out the possession in the first half, much of it was now in their own half.
Shalulile was off target again with an ambitious effort just before halftime and it the break it remained goalless.
Kazapua made another good save from a corner right at the start of the second half, denying the header from Tunisian captain Youssef Msakni.
Shalulile went close again in the 49th minute, but Montassar Omar Talbi cleared the attempt just before it crossed the line. Ben Said had to be alert to punch away at the resulting corner.
Haythem Jouini had an excellent chance to give the Carthage Eagles the lead in the 55th minute, but couldn’t direct his shot from just left of goal, and it went wide.
After Kazapua bravely came out to make a clearance ahead of Ali Maaloul in the 62nd minute, Namibia almost struck on the counter, but after being set up by Deon Hotto, Shalulile’s effort was blocked by the defence.
The Tunisians went close again from a set piece in the 69th minute, but Youssef Msakni’s header was off target, while five minutes Ben Slimane was unable to control a ball in a good position and Kazapua was able to recover.
The Chippa goalkeeper was back in the action again to save from another header in the 79th minute, denying Msakni. Two minutes later Namibian substitute Bethuel Muzeu shot wide from just outside the box.
Hotto went close in the 86th minute from a set piece, but Ben Said got his fingers to the ball to tip over. Aprocius Petrus’ effort from a corner a minute later was deflected behind.
And Namibia finally broke through, as Hotto made it 1-0 in the 88th minute, running onto a deep cross from Mezeu and heading in.
Hotto had the ball in the net in stoppage time, but was ruled offside.
And when the final whistle blew, it was a historic win for Benjamin’s team, a first in their AFCON history.