12 December 2015

Namibia/Botswana: Baby Gladiators Advance in World Cup Qualifiers

Kylie van Wyk's 60th minute equaliser against Botswana was enough to see Namibia's under-17 girls' team through to the first round of the 2016 FIFA Women u17 World Cup qualifiers as they advanced 3-2 on aggregate at the Sam Nujoma stadium on Friday.

Namibia led 2-1 from the first leg match in Gaborone two weeks ago to hold a slight edge going into the return leg qualifier in Windhoek.

As expected, the home side started off well in the heavy rain earlier on at the Sam Nujoma Stadium and captain Sharon Pieters came close with a header from a corner kick, while the ever-green and speedy Beverly Uueziua also had a few half chances in front of goal.

Botswana managed to regroup and got their goal on 25 minutes as Radiakanyo Lesego ran onto a through ball behind Namibia's defence and confidently looped the ball over the hapless Batista Kasume in goal.

The Baby Gladiators recovered from the loss of concentration and continued to create chances for themselves and the goal eventually came on 60 minutes as Ignacia Haoses threaded the ball through from deep in her own half into the path of Uueziua who raced through onto goal and unselfishly laid the ball to Kylie van Wyk for a simplest of tap ins. Two goals in two games for Van Wyk.

Botswana substitute Theo Keselebong nearly made it 2-2 on aggregate as she headed over from less than three metres out following a teasing cross from the left.

Uueziua was once again in the thick of things as she linked up well with Van Wyk who found Haoses, the latter's well taken shot hitting the upright before coming back into play and cleared by Botswana defence.

The hardworking Uueziua had two chances to put the tie to bed not once but twice as first she miscued in front of goal from a Jasmin Baas' free kick on 80t minutes.

Three minutes from time, Namibia's number 12 showed some great ball control, turned the defenders inside out and took a shot that somehow missed the roof of the net and found the cross bar, much to her disbelief and that of those supporting her as she deserved a goal for her shift on the day.

Final score 1-1, Namibia win 3-2 on aggregate and will play Nigeria, first away between 8-10 January with their return leg in Windhoek between 22-24 January in the first round of qualification to Jordan 2016 FIFA Women U17 World Cup.



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