Gladiators count on home support against Zambia

17 Mar 2016 09:40am
WINDHOEK, 17 MAR (NAMPA) – Namibia’s senior national women’s football team, the “Brave Gladiators”, still have a chance to progress to the next round of the 2016 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Women’s Cup of Nations.
Namibia will host Zambia on Friday at the Sam Nujoma Stadium. The Gladiators go into the game trailing 1-3 from the first leg played on 06 March.
The 2016 CAF Women’s Cup of Nations will be hosted in Cameroon in November.
A media statement issued on Wednesday by the Namibia Football Association (NFA) quoted Brave Gladiators coach Jacqui Shipanga as saying that lack of international friendlies for her team as well as the pitch conditions at the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia contributed to their defeat in the first leg.
“It is not easy if you don’t play international friendlies ahead of such a crucial match, and also the pitch was wet and made of natural grass while our players are used to artificial turf during their league games. It was very difficult for the players to adapt to the conditions,” said Shipanga.
She is positive her players will progress to the next round of the competition, but they are wary of Zambia who will look to “close shop” and frustrate the hosts.
“We have a big task but the ladies have character, and with the support from the nation coming to the stadium on Friday, we can reverse the score.
“Our goal was no luck but sheer determination. Zambia will look to counter us on Friday as we push for goals, and we need to be cautious of that from the word go,” said the coach.
The winner on aggregate will play Tanzania or Zimbabwe in the second round.