13 Sep 2017 14:40pm
By Maqonda Ndlovu
BULAWAYO, 13 SEPT (NAMPA) The Brave Gladiators opened their 2017 Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Senior Womens Challenge with a resounding four goals to nil over neighbours Botswana at Barbourfields Stadium in this city on Wednesday.
Two goals from winger Vistoria Shangula, and one a piece from 'woman of the match' Zenatha Coleman and substitute Anna-Marie Shikusho gave the Gladiators a well-deserved victory, which temporarily puts them on top of group C prior to the match between South Africa and Lesotho also on Wednesday.
The Namibians got on the score sheet as early as the 15th minute when Shangula finished off a move involving Veweziwa Kotjipati and Coleman, to head her team into the lead.
Coleman then won a penalty in the 40th, which she duly converted to extend Namibias lead to two goals with no reply.
Two minutes later, Shangula got her second, following poor communication and defensive work by the Batswana to raise the score line to three goals to nil at half-time.
Namibia seemed to take the foot off the pedal in the second half, but continued to trouble their opponents with their passing game.
Coleman, who was a doubtful starter for the match, was then substituted as a precautionary measure for Shikusho, who took advantage of another poor defensive work to score the last goal of the game 15 minutes before time.
Coach Brian Isacks was happy with the teams performance, saying winning the first game helps put pressure on their opponents.
We are now able to plan for our next game knowing that we have set ourselves up perfectly well to stand a chance of progressing from the group stages. Botswana played well but they made mistakes which we punished them for, he said.
Botswana's Gaolethlhoo Nkulwisang said lack of proper preparations by her side was evident as her charges failed to match the Namibians for pace and fitness.
They put us under intense pressure and forced us to make mistakes. We could not play our normal game. We are hoping for a better performance in our next match against Lesotho, she said.
Namibia plays South Africa at Barbourfields Stadium on Friday, while Botswana faces Lesotho on the same day at Luveve Stadium.
The official opening ceremony of the 2017 tournament will take place on Wednesday afternoon before host Zimbabwe faces Madagascar.