THE Brave Gladiators played largely within themselves in yesterday's opening goalless Cosafa Women's Championships Group C clash with Uganda, says head coach Woody Jacobs.
That was especially true in the first half, Jacobs said. After the break, the Gladiators were a bit more enterprising but still lacked the cutting edge required to break down the resolute Crested Cranes.
Jacobs wants his side to build on that second half momentum when they face Zambia on Sunday. The Shepolopolo effortlessly cruised 5-0 past Swaziland in yesterday's late kick off to put three points on the board.
Namibia and guests Uganda share second place on a point each.
"It was a game of two halves. To sum it all up, I think in the first half we struggled to get out of first gear, get hold of the ball and control the midfield in the manner that we wanted to," Jacobs said in his post-match assessment of the frantic clash.
"The game-plan clearly didn't work out in the first half due to the fact that Uganda put us under a lot of pressure. They did not allow us to play our normal game.
"In the second half I think we improved greatly and we made some switches. We started taking control of the game."
The intermittent gusts of wind accompanied with rain, made the already challenging outing that much harder. Nonetheless, there were many encouraging moments from the Gladiators which Jacobs can build on for the Zambia showdown.
"I think also one of the positives that was evident for me was that the fitness levels of the girls are quite high. Judging from the fact that Uganda went into their shell and we attacked more," Jacobs said.
"I think we could have worked more on getting that final pass through in that crucial moment. A draw is a fair reflection of the proceedings on the day," he continued.
"It opened our eyes to the quality of our girls. We now close the chapter on Uganda, take the lessons we've learnt and build on it for our next game against Zambia. So, we look forward to Zambia and to see what they dish out against Eswatini today."
On Wednesday, Botswana stole the headlines with a resounding 6-0 thrashing of South Sudan.
Refiloe Tholakele bagged a hat-trick as last year's beaten finalists put down a marker for the rest of the competition.
Lesego Radiakanyo, Mokgabo Thanda, Balothanyi Johannes and Masego Montsho added further goals for the side,
It is however noteworthy that South Sudan only started playing women's international football in 2019 and due to the Covid-19 pandemic have had just a handful of chances to take to the field since then.
Also in Group B, Tanzania claimed a 3-0 victory over Zimbabwe in the other match in the pool, on what was an enthralling second day of action at the regional showpiece competition.
Two excellent moments of skill settled the contest as Donisia Minja opened the scoring for the east African side three minutes before half-time, and Mwanahamisi Shurua added a second just after the break.
Today, Group A leaders South Africa take on Angola, while Mozambique battle Malawi in the early kick off. In tomorrow's action, Botswana and Tanzania are up first, followed by South Sudan versus Zimbabwe.
Eswatini and Uganda get the ball rolling on Sunday, with Zambia against Namibia rounding off the action.