BY Rachael Ugiagbe
Namibia’s Senior Women’s National Team, Brave Gladiators still have a chance to qualify for the 2016 CAF African Women Cup of Nations in Cameroon despite losing 3-1 in the first leg, first round qualifier to Zambia.
Coach Jacqui Shipanga reckons that lack of friendly matches for the team ahead of the defeat to their Zambian opponents as well as the field conditions at the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka two weeks ago contributed to the downfall of the team.
“It is not easy if you don’t play international friendly ahead of such a crucial match and also the pitch was wet and natural grass while our players are used to the artificial turf during their league games. It was very difficult for the players to adapt to the conditions”, Shipanga told Namibia FA official website.
Shipanga adds that she still believes in progression but will be wary of Zambia in the return leg as their opponents 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 nations coming to the stadium on Friday, we can reverse the score line. 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”, explains Shipanga.
Meanwhile Brave Gladiators playmaker Zenatha Coleman who was stretched off during the first leg encounter after sustaining a head injury has recovered and she is available for selection for the return leg qualifier.