8 January 2018

Namibia: Coleman Off to Spain

BRAVE GLADIATORS forward Zenatha Coleman is itching to help struggling Real Zaragoza to safety after signing for the Spanish Primera Division side on Friday.

In confirming her move as a free agent from Lithuanian champions Gintra Universitetas to Zaragoza, an upbeat Coleman said she was looking forward to testing herself in a stronger European league.

The 23-year-old has inked an 18-month deal with the north-eastern Spanish club, who chased after Coleman after seeing her in action for Gintra against Barcelona in a Uefa Women's Champions League last-16 match.

"I'm very excited about the new challenge. It's a more competitive league than Lithuania. I'm very grateful for the opportunity Gintra gave me to move to Europe. But I want to grow as a player, and moving here [Spain] is part of growing," Coleman told The Namibian Sport on Sunday.

Being at one of the less glamorous sides in Spain is not a step backward, she said. If anything, it's exactly the type of challenge she relishes.

Zaragoza were rooted to the foot of the league, having lost 12 of 15 matches, with two draws for a total of five points, which is six less than second-bottom Santa Teresa, and 10 worse off than Huelva, Albacete, Sevilla and Real Sociedad, who are occupying positions 14 to 11.

On Saturday, Zaragoza were beaten 3-0 by second-placed Atletico Madrid, who trail 40-point log leaders Barcelona by virtue of having an inferior goal difference.

Coleman, who scored a record 69 goals across four competitions for Gintra last year, is keen to repay Zaragoza for showing faith in her ability.

As well as starring in the Champions League last year, she won the Baltic Cup, Lithuanian Women's Cup and league title, while her first season in Lithuania yielded 49 goals plus a domestic league and cup double.

"There were other clubs, but they [Zaragoza] were the only club who were prepared to pay. They showed they really want me," she enthused.

A work visa is the only thing standing between the gifted Namibian international and her Spanish top-flight football debut.

Coleman has been keeping fit on her own in Windhoek during the festive season in anticipation of her latest challenge.

"I want to test myself against better players on a regular basis. It's also better than Lithuania money-wise, and I want to help them out of the relegation battle. That's why they signed me," she added.

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