8 February 2018

Namibia: Neglected Gladiators in Search of Fitness

With no league football to supplement their quest to qualify for the 2018 African Women's Cup of Nations, the Brave Gladiators have set up a training camp to prepare for their qualifier against Zimbabwe on 31 March.

The Namibia women's football general manager Jacqui Shipanga announced a training squad of 29 players on Tuesday, stating that the emphasis will be on attaining sufficient fitness levels by the time Zimbabwe come to town for the first-leg encounter which takes place on Saturday, 31 March at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.

The return leg is set for 7 April in Zimbabwe.

The winner will advance to the second round, where either Tanzania or Zambia awaits, while the eventual winner will book their ticket for the finals in Ghana.

"The ladies have not played competitive international football for about five months now since playing in the Cosafa Cup in Zimbabwe, and getting our fitness levels up will be our primary focus during this camp ahead of Zimbabwe's visit," Shipanga told the NFA website in an interview.

The Brave Gladiators, whose only participation at the continental women's football showpiece was as hosts in 2014 and where they exited at the group stage, failed to qualify for the 2016 edition in Cameroon.

They will now embark upon qualification for Ghana 2018, where the competition runs from 17 November to 1 December.

Namibia Football Association fitness coach Charl Botha, who worked wonders with the Brave Warriors in their similarly league-less qualification and participation at the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan) finals in Morocco, spearheads the intense fitness camp, which began on Wednesday.

Head coach Brian Isaacs remains in charge overall.

The full team includes USA-based Annouscka Kordom, who plays for Corban Warriors, Vewe Kotjipati, who plies her trade for German side Herforder Sportverein, and star player Zenatha Coleman, who turns out for Real Zaragoza in the Spanish Women's Premier Division.

The Brave Gladiators are as follows:

Goalkeepers - Lydia Eixas, Agnes Kauzuu, Melisa Matheus and Fiola Vilete;

Defenders - Lina Katuta, Uerikondjera Kasaona (captain), Ester Amukwaya, Stacey Naris, Lorraine Jossop, Lydiana Nanamus, Emma Naris, Anna Shaende, Lovisa Mulunga;

Midfielders - Annouscka Kordom, Juliana Skrywer, Millicent Hikuam, Zenatha Coleman, Memory Ngonda, Julia Rutjindo, Elmarie Fredericks, Asteria Angula and Beverly Uueziua;

Strikers: Twelikondjela Amukoto, Vewe Kotjipati, Stella Williams, Faustina Amutenya, Anna-Marie Shikusho, Julia Blou and Iyaloo Rooi.

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