Namibia/Tanzania: Gladiators in Tanzania for Afcon Qualifier

THE Brave Gladiators are looking to make a good impression in Dar es Salaam where they face Cosafa champions Tanzania in a 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers first round first leg clash.

On Sunday, a 22-member team left from their South African base for the East African nation. Foreign-based stars, Zenatha Coleman (Spain) and Veweziua Kotjipati (Germany), were due to join the team in Tanzania yesterday.

The Gladiators have been camping in Gqeberha since their elimination from the Cosafa Women championships early this month. Namibia will host the second leg match against the buoyant Twiga Stars in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Gladiators interim head coach Woody Jacobs says the recent Cosafa tournament provided them with a clear perspective of where they need to improve to be competitive against their rivals.

They were able to asses their formidable hosts' strengths and identify shortcomings they can exploit, he said.

After adding the senior title to their collection earlier this month, Tanzania now hold titles in all the women's categories in Cosafa, under-17, under-20 and senior football.

Tanzania will be looking to establish a healthy advantage at home before Sunday's return fixture.

"Looking at Tanzania's performance in the tournament, we know we are up for a tough match. So, of course, we need to up the competition. We analysed them and worked out a plan to go and upset them," Jacobs said in a recent interview with the Namibia Football Association .

The aggregate winner advances to the final round of the qualifiers for a spot at the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations.

The tournament, to be hosted by Morocco from 2 to 23 July 2022, is the 12th edition of the continental showpiece.

The competition also doubles as the African qualifiers for the 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup. Only the top four teams at the Afcon finals in Morocco qualify for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

But, two more teams will advance to the inter-confederation play offs.

Defending champions Nigeria are again the favourites and could retain the title they won in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The 2020 edition, which would have been the first to feature 12 teams, was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Brave Gladiators squad in Tanzania are:

Goalkeepers - Agnes Kauzuu, Mellissa Matheus, Sussanna Eises;

Defenders - Iina Katuta, Asteria Angula, Selma Enkali, Veronica Van Wyk, Emma Naris, Nicole Philander, Lydiana Nanamus, Lovisa Mulunga, Hilma Shapumba, Veweziua Kotjipati;

Midfielders - Annouscka Kordom,Twelikondjela Amukoto, Millicent Hikuam, Juliana Blou,Beverly Uueziua, Shanice Daries , Meltret Ujamba;

Forward - Zenatha Coleman, Memory Ngonda, Kylie Van Wyk and Hillary Gontes.

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