..as team aims to raise COSAFA bar
By John Tuerijama
THE senior national women football team, the Brave Gladiators, is aiming to upset Zimbabwe when the two archrivals meet in their opening match at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
The COSAFA women championship runs from 12-22 September, 2018.
Since their maiden campaign in 2016, the senior national team has failed to progress beyond the group stages, but head coach Brian Isaacs has expressed confidence in his charges to progress beyond the groups stages this time around.
The Brave Gladiators open their campaign against Zimbabwe on Thursday 13 September, while they are pitted against the invited Ugandan team in their second encounter.
The guest nation is reportedly confident of showing their improvement on the African continent. The Crested Cranes have been invited to the 2018 edition of the COSAFA women championship along with continental powerhouse Cameroon and will feature in Group C with Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
The relatively young Brave Gladiators team is blended with some experienced players with much-needed experience to upset their foes in Group C.
Head of the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Women Department Jacky Gertze said although the logistical preparations for the COSAFA event were upsetting, NFA eventually pulled through.
“With all the problems faced during the weeks, we were not sure if we would send the team, but thanks to the dedication and selflessness of the NFA Secretary-General Barry Rukoro, all expenses are paid including logistics and players’ allowances,” she said. Gertze thanked the government, through the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, while also giving her gratitude to some corporate entities that came on board with the assistance.
Presenting the Brave Gladiators with national colours before their departure to South Africa, Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Chief Administrator Freddy Mwiya told the players not be mere participants but competitors at the competition.
Mwiya added that it is through such competitions that players must market their country and become real ambassadors of Namibia.
“Go over there and do your level best based on your abilities, but go fight until the very last bullet. You must be able to compete against anyone and become Africa’s best,” said Mwiya.
The East African guest nation, Uganda, hopes to make a lasting impression on the 2018 COSAFA women tournament which they see as an excellent opportunity to continue to grow as a team.
Skipper Tracy Jones Akiror is quoted on the COSAFA website as saying that the squad has been gelling well after their performances at the recent 2018 CECAFA Women’s Championship, where the side finished in runners-up.
Akiror said the COSAFA championship will give the team another chance to test themselves with the potential to play African Women’s Championship qualifiers South Africa, Zambia and Cameroon, and a definite fixture against 2016 Olympic Games participants Zimbabwe in the pool stage.
“We want to test ourselves with the best on the continent because we have great ambitions. We shall go there for the ultimate prize, not just participation,” she said. In 2017, Namibia struggled in the competition when they finished bottom of their pool with victory over Botswana but defeats to South Africa and Lesotho.
“Our target is to make sure we progress beyond the group stages and if we accomplish that, then anything can surely happen,” Isaacs told reporters.
Isaacs was quoted by COSAFA website saying that: “It will be a 50/50 chance to either make the semi-final or the competitions final, despite the absence of a women’s football league, the girls have been working hard to make sure their fitness level is at par”.
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Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015