Gladiators to Host Progresso From Angola

THE Brave Gladiators are hosting Angolan club side Progresso this weekend with two friendly matches scheduled for Friday and Sunday respectively, as Namibia continues its preparations for the 2014 CAF Africa Women’s Championships to be played from 11-25 October in Windhoek.

The Angolan side are expected to arrive in Namibia on Friday morning and then take on the Gladiators in their first match at the NFA Technical Centre at 16h30 while the second match is scheduled for Sunday at 15h30 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.

According to Brave Gladiators head coach Jacqueline Shipanga, the idea is to expose the Gladiators to different styles of play ahead of the actual championships in October.

“We have been training for over a month now and the girls have been working very hard as we wait to see which seven teams will qualify for the championships. We know that it will be the best on the continent so we must be very well prepared if we hope to spring a surprise or two. Playing Progresso will boost our chances because they have players from Cameroon and DR Congo in their ranks, while about 90 percent of the Angolan national team is made up of players from Progresso,” she said.

Shipanga said other attributes of Progresso were also invaluable: “They are a very physical side, they train every day and have all the materials at their disposal. In fact they are better than most national teams in Africa and their depth is incredible. They are a very tactical team and we need to take them on and learn a thing or two from them and try to improve our own game,” she said.

On Saturday, the two teams will have a “sharing of practices” session where Shipanga will hope to learn more from the visitors as well.

The Gladiators team will be a mixture of senior and young players, although the German-based trio of Vewe Kotjipati, Lorraine Jossop and Thomalina Adams will not be available.

“They will only be joining us in April when we will play four matches against the German national under 18 team and South Africa amongst others. For this weekend, players that are here will be considered and are expected to do a good job,” she said.

The Gladiators played Progresso in Luanda last November and after a one-all draw, Progresso won 5-4 on penalties in the match that formed part of Angola’s 38th Independence Anniversary.