Gladiators fall to Botswana

01 Aug 2019 18:40pm
WINDHOEK, 01 AUG (NAMPA) – The senior national women’s football team, the Brave Gladiators, lost 1-0 to Botswana in their opening Group B match of the 2019 Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Championship on Thursday.
The Gladiators, who started off well, fell behind to a Michelle Abueng goal in the 44th minute after the Namibian defence was caught napping by a defence splitting pass from Botswana captain Esalenna Galekhtle.
Abueng took one touch on the ball before sliding it past Melisa Matheus in goals for Namibia.
Prior to that, Namibia had carved out a few chances of their own, from which they failed to convert.
Zenatha Coleman sent a lovely free kick in the fifth minute, and the resultant header by Millicent Hikuam flashed wide.
A corner by Ivone Kooper also went wide, while Coleman was denied what looked like a penalty in the 35th minute to leave the score-line 1-0 at halftime.
The second half saw Namibia increase their tempo in a bid to pull a goal back, but the Batswana defence stood resolute, as more chances went begging, with Coleman shooting tamely at Bame Mokime, in goals for Botswana.
Substitute Beverly Uueziua missed an open goal following great work by Coleman at the wing.
Another replacement player, Annoushka Kordom, also saw her header from a corner kick flash wide as Namibia piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser.
Botswana held on to their lead, which was described by Namibian coach Uerikondjera Kasaona as a ‘lucky win’.
“It is a sad ending of the match for my players as we lacked the finishing touch. Luck was with the opponent as we were supposed to finish the match in the first 15 minutes,” she said.
Namibia will now play Group B log leaders Zambia on Saturday at the same venue.
Zambia crushed Madagascar 15-0 in an earlier match to take top spot, and are now followed by Botswana who also have three points, but an inferior goal difference.
The 2019 Senior Cosafa Women’s Championship is taking place in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It is being held concurrently with the under-20 tournament, which saw Namibia under-20 beat Mozambique 2-1 earlier on the day.