WINDHOEK – Namibia’s female senior football team, the Brave Gladiators, will today kick off their 2019 Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Cup campaign with a vital tie against regional rivals Botswana at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Namibia have missed out on the semifinals in the last two editions, despite finishing the pool play with a positive goal-difference, including in 2017 when they were bottom of their group.
Namibia have four previous appearances at the Cosafa Women’s Championships, where they turned out in 2006, 2008, 2017 and 2018, and have largely excelled in the regional showpiece. The Gladiators have always been tough competitors in the past and the same will be expected this year.
In their first showing in 2006 they claimed an excellent 2-2 draw with Zambia and then thumped eSwatini 6-0 in the pool stages, enough to see them into the semifinals as runners-up in their group. They gained revenge over Zambia with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory after a 1-1 draw, but lost in the final to South Africa when they went down 3-1.
They reached the semifinals again two years later, but this time were ousted at that stage by South Africa, ironically by the same scoreline. They had less success in 2017, beating Botswana 4-0 in their opener, but then losing 2-1 to Lesotho and once again suffering a 3-1 loss to South Africa to finish bottom of their pool.
Last year they beat eSwatini 4-1, but a defeat to Zimbabwe (0-1) and a draw with east African guest nation Uganda (0-1) meant they did not progress to the knockout stages
Ahead of the team’s departure for Port Elizabeth, Gladiators head coach Mammie Kasaona told the local media: “We are very fit as we played a couple of games against the U/20 team. We are ready to compete and not just to participate. We are hoping to get out of the group stage and from there we want nothing less than the final.”
Meanwhile, the team’s captain Zenatha Coleman said the squad has been preparing well, everybody in the team is ready for the tournament and Namibians should expect positive results from them.
This will be the third year in a row that the competition has been staged after a hiatus, with South Africa defending the crown they won in Port Elizabeth last year.
Brave Gladiators squad: Agnes Kauzuu, Mellissa Matheus, Lovisa Mulunga, Twelikondjela Amukoto, Emma Naris, Lorraine Jossop, Thomalina Adams, Millicent Hikuam, Memory Ngonda, Anna-Marie Shikusho, Elmarie Fredericks, Juliana Blou, Cheren Ujamba, Lydiana Nanamus, Kamunikire Tjituka, Veronica van Wyk and Zenatha Coleman.
2019-08-01 07:31:17 2 months ago