… As squad hopefuls are called to national trials
By John Tuerijama
BRAVE Gladiators hopefuls are set to report for trials later this month, as head coach Jacqui Shipanga seeks to shape a team that can finally clinch the elusive Council of Southern Africa Football Association (Cosafa) women’s crown, at the regional tournament that kicks off in September.
Namibia Football Association (NFA) Public Relations Officer, Dam Kamati, confirmed this week that the NFA Women’s Department will be hosting national trials for the senior team, as well as the junior national side, from 15 to 16 July.
Shipanga explained that the trials are necessary and open to all potential national side players.
She said that the Brave Gladiators will need to select its players carefully ahead of the Cosafa Women’s Championship, which will be in Zimbabwe from the 13 to 24 September, while the Young Gladiators will play South Africa in September, in a 2018 FIFA Women U-20 World Cup qualifier. “Due to the inactivity of the Women Super League (WSL), the Gladiators Technical Team is finding it extremely difficult to identify new talent and boost the senior national team. It is against this background that we will host national trials for all players around the country, who have the potential to make it in to the national team. Individual players from regions will be accommodated at the NFA Girls Centre,” Shipanga said.
She said that the selected players will be given an opportunity to be trained by NFA national coaches, including Mervin Mbakera and Bryan Van Staden. The head coach said that she expects an infusion of new blood, to challenge for positions in the Brave Gladiators squad, especially likes of U-20 national captain Lydiana Nanamus (18), midfielder Asteria Angula (18) Julia Rutjindo (17), Speedy Gonzales (18) Beverly Uueziua (18) and Melissa Matheus (18).
In 2014, Namibia fielded the then 16-year-old Memory Ngonda and 17-year-old Annouscka Kordom against African powerhouse Nigeria and other big-name teams, and the duo has since become regular names in the Brave Gladiators squad, who serve as a huge motivation to the other youngsters coming through the ranks.
Shipanga urged for greater cooperation between the Namibia Schools Sport Union (NSSU) and the NFA, in order to ensure that only qualified coaches and teachers are selected to coach the Confederation of School Sports Association in Southern Africa (COSSASA) Ball Games’ U-13 and U-17 national teams, which will compete against other regional teams in Lesotho in August and September.
Shipanga said that they will make use of qualified teachers, who continuously work with girls’ football at a regional level, especially in the United Nation’s Children Fund-sponsored U-13 and U-17 Galz and Goals leagues.
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