16 Sep 2017 12:00pm
By Maqonda Ndlovu
BULAWAYO, 16 SEP (NAMPA) Namibia lost 3-1 to South Africa in a Council of Southern Africa Football Associations 2017 Womens Championship match here on Friday.
A poor start by Namibia saw the South African duo of Chrestinah Kgatlana and Chantelle Esau scoring two quick goals in the fifth and 13th minute, respectively before Millicent Hikuam pulled one back for Namibia in the 37th minute to end first half 2-1 for Banyana Banyana.
In the second half, Namibias Brave Gladiators attacked South Africa with the hope of finding the equaliser but found the South African defence resolute.
With time running out, Namibia committed women forward and were caught with a sucker punch in the 88th minute, when Kgatlana rolled the ball into an empty net after Esau dribbled past Namibian goalkeeper, Melisa Matheus.
The defeat saw Namibia drop from top of the group to second place.
Other teams in Group C - Botswana and Lesotho - face each other at 14h00 on Saturday.
Brian Isaacs, the Gladiators coach, lamented the schoolgirl errors by his players, saying it is the reason they lost.
Lack of concentration at crucial times led to us conceding the quick-fire two goals. I also believe that lack of game time from the girls showed today as we struggled with a lack of match fitness, he said.
Issacs said preparations prior to the tournament were not ideal, taking into consideration that the womens league in Namibia is inactive and only one preparatory match was played.
He added that as much as the chances for progressing are now slim for Namibia, he was optimistic that the development of the girls is on the right track.
Namibia will face Lesotho in their last group game at 14h00 Sunday.
Isaacs counterpart, Desiree Ellis, concurred on the lack of match fitness by most teams, saying her players also struggled with their rhythm as they had last played together in January.
We are in a good position now to qualify; we will make a few changes again for our next match [Sunday] to give all players game time, at the same time resting those that played two consecutive games, she said.
In other matches played on Friday, Malawi beat Madagascar 6-3, while Zimbabwe and Zambia drew one-all.