….Key players to miss tournament
By John Tuerijama
WITH the national women football team, the ‘Brave Gladiators’, poised to face yet another mammoth task at the forthcoming Council of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) women championship, the absence of key players such as top-notch striker Zenatha Coleman is set to dampen the spirit further. Since taking part in the regional competition for the past two-years, the Brave Gladiators have failed to progress beyond the group stages. In addition to Coleman’s absence, Confidente also learned that veteran skipper Mammie Kasaona, seasoned striker Stella Williams and midfielder Julian ‘Poppies’ Skrywer, will not form part of the trip to Port Elizabeth, South Africa next month. Head coach Brian Isaacs said Coleman could not make the team because she was busy with pre-season preparations with her new club in Spain. “There is no way that she can jeopardize her chances of establishing herself and as you very well know the COSAFA championship is not on the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) calendar. There is no way we can demand her release from the Spanish giants,” Isaacs said. German-based player, Veweziwa Kotjipati, will also not feature for the Brave Gladiators because of her pre-season commitment with Herforder Sv Boorussia Friedental ev. “The absence of the two players will surely have a negative impact on the players because the duo has been inspirational in taking the team to another level with their motivation and style of play. But despite their absence we need to continue focusing on the objective and as part of our training we have had seven friendly matches with various national age groups,” said the coach. Isaacs added that captain Kasaona asked to be relieved from the team due to work commitments, and that defensive midfielder Emma Naris will now step in to captain the national side in Port Elizabeth. The coach said friendly matches have helped a lot in improving the fitness level of the players and that he has included a few players from the national under-20 team, to ensure that they have a good base to fall back on and that the campaign will be an excellent exposure for the younger players. “Our target is to make sure we progress beyond the group stages and if we accomplish just that then anything can surely happen. It will be a 50/50 chance to either make the semi-final or the competition’s final,” stressed the coach. However, the coach lamented the absence of an ongoing women’s football league which will obviously give the Namibian team’s competitors an edge. The Brave Gladiators have also been plagued by an injury to defensive midfielder Lorrain Jossop. Jossop has a week and a half to recover from her knee injury before the team jets out on 9 September. According to the COSAFA official website the women’s championship will provide the much needed international competition and a chance to be crowned regional queens when the tournament is staged in the South African coastal city of Port Elizabeth from 12to 22 September. South Africa are the defending champions after lifting the trophy in a thrilling tournament in Zimbabwe last year, and along with Zambia will use this event as a build-up to the African Women’s Championship that will be held in Ghana in November. The 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship is set to again have a field of 12 teams this year, with invitations sent out to guest nations to add spice to what is already a high-quality field. Aside from South Africa and Zambia, also to compete are 2016 Olympic Games finalists Zimbabwe, along with Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015