BRAVE Gladiators coach Robert Nauseb has called up an experienced squad of 32 players in preparation for two friendly matches against Angola in Windhoek next month.
The squad includes Namibia's foreign-based professionals Zenatha Coleman and Annouschka Kordom, although a few newcomers have also been selected following impressive performances in the recently concluded Women's Super Cup.
Tura Magic, who beat Galz & Goals 1-0 in the Super Cup final, provide the bulk of the squad with 13 players, while Galz & Goals and Khomas Nampol have four representatives each.
The newcomers include V Power Angels goalkeeper Quenith Narises; Okahandja United defender Lucia Ndilipunje; Namib Daughters midfielders Ignacia Haoses, Precious Hambira and Magdalena Kaembere; and Ramblers midfielder Ashley Salomon.
Nauseb said that they had been rewarded after some fine performances in the Super Cup.
"I've mostly stuck with our tried and tested players, but there are a few newcomers who all caught the eye in the Super Cup, like Lucia Ndilipunje who was Okahandja United's stand-out player. Ashley Salomon of Ramblers also impressed, while I also got information from some of our trusted scouts who recommended players like Magdalena Kaembere and Precious Hambira of Namib Daughters," he said.
"Zenatha is the captain of the team and we can call her up, because the matches are during the international friendlies week, so if she is allowed to travel she will be here. Annouschka is already in Namibia and will only return to her team in Israel in May so she will also be part of the squad," he added.
Nauseb has made some interesting selections with several players being tried out in new positions like Tura Magic midfielder Memory Ngonda, who has been named as a striker, and Tura Magic striker Yvonne Kooper, who has been named as a defender.
"For me, Memory is an attacking midfielder, but she can also play as a striker, and we are a bit thin in that department, so we are looking at all the options," he said.
Ÿvonne is our most versatile player and can basically play anywhere. She has been used at right back, left and right wing and striker for Tura Magic," so we want to see how she does in the defence," he added.
Some of the star players of the recent Super Cup are included like Tura Magic striker Anna Shikusho who was the top goal scorer with 15 goals in four matches, Galz & Goals midfielder Beverley Uueziua, who was second with eight goals, and goal keeper Lydia Eixas; while experienced stalwarts of the Gladiators over the years are once again included like Thomalina Adams, Elmarie Fredericks and Emma Naris of Tura Magic.
Ï thought Elmarie had a brilliant Super Cup, and her experience is very important for the younger players, while Thomalina is my trump card, I'll call her up any day," Nauseb said.
The two international friendlies will be held in Windhoek on 7 and 10 April, to help them' Brave Gladiators prepare for bigger challenges ahead later in the year like the Cosafa Cup and the Afcon qualifiers.
"We need to play in the international weeks and make use of these opportunities to help prepare the squad for more important tournaments coming up," Nauseb said.
"In the Cosafa Cup we often have to play matches with only two or three days in between, so we thought we would copy that against Angola to get the players more used to it," he added.
The Brave Gladiators squad is as follows:
Melissa Matheus and Agnes Kauzuu (Tura Magic), Lydia Eixas (Galz & Goals), Quenith Narises (V Power Angels).
Lovisa Mulunga, Selma Enkali, Lydiana Nanamus, Yvonne Kooper (Tura Magic); Iina Katutua, Magdalena Paulus, Kamunikire Tjituka (Khomas Nampol); Veronica van Wyk (Galz & Goals), Lucia Ndilipunje (Okahandja United), Soini Sheenya (Rightway FC).
Millicent Hikuam, Emma Naris, Juliana Blou, Thomalina Adams, Elmarie Fredericks (Tura Magic); Asteria Angula, Beverley Uueziua (Galz & Goals); Ignacia Haoses, Precious Hambira, Magdalena Kaembere (Namib Daughters); Miltret Ujamba (Unam Bokkies); Ashley Salomon (Ramblers).
Memory Ngonda, Anna Shikusho (Tura Magic); Faustina Amutenya (Khomas Nampol), Viola Vliete (V Power Angels), Annouschka Kordom (Hapoel Beér Sheva, Israel), Zenatha Coleman (Sevilla, Spain).