Namibia’s Brave Gladiators yesterday cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over Lesotho during their final Group B match of the ongoing Cosafa Cup, but that result was however not enough as they had to rely on a 1-all draw between South Africa and Mozambique to have their place in the semi-finals officially confirmed.
The Gladiators, who lost their opening match to already-qualified Zambia before going on to beat Eswatini and Lesotho to amass six points, were on top of their game yesterday as they dominated all proceedings in both the first and second half. They went into the changeover leading 1-0.
They created plenty of goalscoring opportunities and their speed and technique on the ball were unmatched by Lesotho, who struggled to salvage the match as they eventually went down 2-0 to the rampant Namibians. Despite securing a commanding 2-0 win over Lesotho, it was still not enough to send the Gladiators through to the semi-finals of the 2022 Cosafa Cup as they had to wait for the outcome between South African and Mozambique in a match that was played concurrently.
For the Gladiators to proceed to the semi-finals, South Africa either had to beat or draw with Mozambique or Mozambique had to beat South Africa with more than four goals for Namibia to stand a chance of progressing.
Luckily, South Africa managed to scrap a hard-fought 1-all draw against the unrelenting Mozambicans, who had earlier taken the lead before splitting the match for a 1-1 outcome, which saw South Africa advancing to the semis.
That result also meant that the
Gladiators would become the second team from group B to progress to the semis, joining Zambia who had earlier qualified with a clean haul of nine points from their three groups games.
It now means the Gladiators will face South Africa in Friday’s semi-finals, while Zambia await the winner of Group C, which will be decided today. Goals in each half from Memory Ngonda and Zenatha Coleman sealed victory for Namibia, who will on Friday be hoping to reach a first final since 2006 when they lost to South
Reflecting on yesterday’s win over Lesotho, Gladiators gaffer Paulus Shipanga said it was a tough group with highly-competitive opponents but he was happy they did their part in making sure they stood a good chance of advancing to the semis.
“I’m happy with the overall performance of my girls and one could see that they are fighting for the flag and want to go all the way in this competition. Obviously, we have all seen how tough this group was and how all the teams wanted it so badly, but I’m happy we fought until the very end. From here going forward, we take it with both hands and make sure we stick to our plan as a team,” said Shipanga, who is coaching at his first ever major tournament as national team coach.
The Gladiators have made six previous appearances at the Cosafa Cup, first turning up in 2006, 2008, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021, but have never won the competition.