Gladiators Open Campaign Against Zambia

The Brave Gladiators will open their campaign against fellow debutants Zambia at the Sam Nujoma Stadium when the tn Mobile CAF African Women Championships kick off on 11 October 2014.

It’s the first time that either country has qualified for the finals. Namibia qualified automatically as the hosts, while Zambia qualified after beating Tanzania and Zimbabwe during the qualifying campaign.

Following Saturday night’s draw, Namibia has been paired with Zambia, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast in Group A, while Group B consists of South Africa, Ghana, Algeria and Cameroon.

The Group A matches will be played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium and the Group B matches at the Independence Stadium, with two matches taking place per day of action.

The tournament will kick off with Namibia taking on Zambia at 17h00 on 11 October, to be followed by Nigeria up against the Ivory Coast at 20h00 at the same venue.

The following day the action will move to the Independence Stadium, with South Africa taking on Cameroon at 17h00 and Algeria up against Ghana at 20h00.

Group matches continue on 14 October when Namibia takes on the Ivory Coast at 20h00, to be preceded by Nigeria against Zambia at 17h00.

Namibia’s final group match is against Nigeria on 17 October at 17h00, to be followed by Zambia against the Ivory Coast at 20h00.

Group B matches continue at the Independence Stadium on 15 and 18 October.

The top two teams in each group will qualify for the semifinals which take place at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on 22 October, while the third place playoff and the final takes place at the dame venue three days later.

The top three teams at the championships will qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

‘Group of Death’ – Shipanga

The Confederation of African Football website meanwhile interviewed several national coaches on their thoughts about the draw.

Namibia’s coach Jacqueline Shipanga said they had been drawn in the ‘Group of Death’.

“We have been paired in a very tough group, especially if you are to face the six-time winners Nigeria, and Cote d’Ivoire, which eliminated holders Equatorial Guinea during the qualifiers, while Zambia is in the same situation as us, by being first timers. Looking at it, it is a group of death. From now, we want to engage ger teams to get better. Namibia has one of the youngest teams but the girls are extremely determined and confident to do well,” she said.

The head coach of Cameroon, Enow Ngachu said they were in the toughest group. “It is a difficult group and we have to work very hard to come out amongst the best. We have been working for a long time and we have to put in more effort in our bid to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. We have to maximize our chances during preparations. For me, it’s the toughest group with South Africa which qualified for the 2012 Olympics Ghana, a good women’s team and Algeria, also a g side,” he said. Clementine Toure the head coach of Cote d’Ivoire said their group was well balanced.

“Group A is well balanced with two debutants (Zambia and Namibia) which makes the pairing dicey. We have a young team and are still learning. This tournament will be another experience and learning curve for my team. Every team is here to win the trophy but our approach will be one game at a time,” she said.

South Africa’s team manager, Levy Ramajoe expressed confidence after the draw was made.

“We are delighted to know our opponents and all the teams at this stage deserve to be here. The most important element will be adequate preparations. The dream of our players and officials is to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup and we are convinced the hour is here,” he said.

Source : The Namibian