Namibia/Eswatini: Gladiators Put Eswatini to the Sword

5 September 2022

PAULUS Shipanga is not impressed with the Brave Gladiators despite a commanding 5-1 victory over Eswatini in their second 2022 Cosafa Women's Championship match played in Gqeberha, South Africa, yesterday.

The head coach believes the wasteful Gladiators need to increase their conversion rate if they are to make the semi-finals of the competition.

Namibia got their first points on the board, bouncing back from a 2-0 defeat against Zambia's Copper Queens in their Group B opener on Wednesday.

Yesterday's result revives Namibia's hopes of qualifying for the semis as the best-placed runner-up in the pool stages.

They lie second on three points, behind the Copper Queens who have six after beating Lesotho 4-0 in yesterday's late kick off.

Namibia battle Lesotho for second spot, with title contenders Zambia looking to maintain their 100% record in this year's competition in the final pool matches tomorrow.

"I actually wanted more. I'm not smiling much because I'm not happy," Shipanga said in the post match interview.

"We had a whole lot of chances that we missed. Seven or eight would have been a better thing, juts for us to have a breather, so that the last game we can try to get three of four goals, Now it's even harder for us to go in the next game and get as many goals as we need."

Restored to team captain, Zenatha Coleman delivered a player of the mach performance but was uncharacteristically poor with her finishing, including missing a first half penalty.

Following the Zambia loss, the Gladiators knew the importance of a strong showing and goals against Eswatini, she said.

"I think we created chances in the first match also but we didn't put them away, so we needed to come in this match to score more goals. I think we did well," Coleman said.

"The mentality was just the same [as in the Zambia match]. We started off very well and I think we just needed to come back stronger. We needed to win this match for ourselves and for our country."

THE MATCH

Namibia went ahead on 22 minutes when Ivonne Kooper broke the deadlock with a fine lobbed finish, latching on to a defence-splitting pass from Coleman.

Marauding midfielder Memory Ngonda made it 2-0 three minutes later with a cheeky near post shot but Sisanda Ndzinisa pulled one back for Eswatini three minutes before the break.

"Not 100% but at least we got the goals that we wanted. We could have got more. I was a bit frustrated because we said the first 10 or 15 minutes we would go for it but the first goal only came after 20 minutes," Shipanga said.

The Gladiators should have taken a bigger lead into the second 45 minutes had they been more clinical in front of goal.

He was particularly annoyed by the team's inability to keep a clean sheet.

THE SWITCH

Unhappy with his side's output in the first half, head coach Paulus Shipanga rang the changes at half time, making a triple substitution.

He brought on Juliana Blou, Anna Shaenda and Kylie van Wyk on for Asteria Angula, Shanice Daries and Veronica van Wyk.

"It's called sports discipline. They forgot where to play, where to stay and actually gave away a silly goal," Shipanga said.

"I think it's almost the same goal we conceded against Zambia. It's one of those things when you don't have enough time [between games], you just try to get them to concentrate.

"It's back to the drawing board, at least now they know what their mistakes are. But I think from now on, the morale would go up."

The changes appeared to have an immediate impact as the Gladiators pressure from the restart yielded a penalty. which Coleman blazed over the bar.

Coleman continued to trouble the Eswatini rearguard and superbly set up Kooper for her second of the match on 70 minutes.

The Gladiators star chased down what looked to be an overhit long ball, out-muscled her marker before turning two other defenders inside out and laying off the pass.

Right back Vewe Kotjipati made it 4-1 on 73 minutes with a sliding finish after being put through on goal by Ngonda.

The defender injured herself in the process and was substituted for winger Beverly Uueziua. Coleman finally got on the scoresheet after dispatching a penalty with the last kick of the match.

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.