Namibia Take On Algeria

THE TN Mobile CAF African Women Championship draws a step closer for Namibia today when the Brave Gladiators take on north African powerhouses Algeria in a practise match at the SKW stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

The match was originally supposed to take place at the Independence Stadium but due to ongoing renovations in preparation of the Africa Women Championship, today’s practise match has been shifted to the SKW field, where it will kick off at 17h00.

The Brave Gladiators have been in camp for a month but their preparation has not been ideal, with a lack of funds and players the main problems for national coach Jacqui Shipanga.

“We’ve been in camp for a month now, but our girls are struggling financially. They have not received funds for transport, basic toiletries or medical expenses. Some of them are still at school and have to pay their own cab fare to get around, but we haven’t received our preparation funds from the Namibia Sport Commission or the Local Organising Committee yet,” she said.

“I heard that the national team will get funds three to four days before a match, but that’s too late, we’ve been in camp for a month now without any funds and it leaves a funny taste in the mouth that we have no camping allowance,” she added.

Striker Novata Paulus is suffering from a hamstring injury, while two of Shipanga’s top players, Twelikondjela Amukoto and Ndapewa Katuta are also unavailable due to work commitments, since they are attending a Police training camp in Ondangwa.

“I’m really happy that they have found employment, but they are crucial players for us and we have requested their presence at the training camp, but we are still awaiting a response from the police. I’m still hopeful that they can be released at least for the second match against Algeria on Saturday,” she said.

Shipanga said she was not too concerned about Tuesday’s result and would give some of her substitutes a chance to play against Algeria.

“We want to give our substitutes a run, so that all our players can get exposure and will have experience of playing on the big stage. I’m looking at players like Shirley Cloete, Anouschka Kordom and Kleintjie Fredericks and our reserve keepers Susanna Eises and Agnes Kauzuu,” she said.

She said she did not know much about Algeria, but expected a tough challenge from them.

“Algeria is a closed book for us and it will be the first time that we play a north African team. Most of their players play professionally in France and they also have a g league at home so we are expecting them to be one of the toughest teams at the championships.”

Shipanga, who will choose her final 21-man squad on Thursday, said competition for places will be g.

“The girls are very excited and looking forward to the tournament. Three players will have to drop out from our current 24-man squad, so they are giving their all during training and they all want to make the final 21-man squad,” she said.

Shipanga also announced that Black Africa coach Brian Isaacs has been roped in to add more quality in the Brave Gladiators’ technical department.

“Brian has vast experience having worked with top coaches like Ben Bamfuchile, Arie Schans and Tom Saintfiet, while he has an unparalleled record of four league titles and now the Super Cup with Black Africa. He is not new to women’s football and has worked with the Brave Gladiators before, and I’m just glad that the NFA gave me the mandate to go ahead and that Brian accepted,” she said.

“On Thursday we will also announce a technical aisory committee that will be headed by Klaus Stark. They won’t be part of the technical committee but they will scout the other teams and provide us with match analyses and so on,” she added.

Shipanga called on Namibian fans to show their support for the Brave Gladiators.

“We need the full support of our fans because our girls need to get used to playing in front of a full stadium. They are used to playing in front of empty stadiums so we don’t want them to have a mental shock when they have to play at full stadiums,” she said.

Source : The Namibian