Young Gladiators bow out of Cosafa

The National Under 20 Women's football team bowed out of the 2019 Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) championships following a 4-0 loss to Zimbabwe in their final group A match in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The match started off brightly with both teams attacking each other with the hope of getting an early goal, with Veronica April twice shooting straight at the Zimbabwean gaolie Cynthia Shonga.

However it was Zimbabwe who took an early lead when Talent Bizeki scored with a long range shot that looped over the diving Megan Schuster, in goals for Namibia in the 19th minute.

That goal unsettled the Namibians as Zimbabwe slowly took control of the match, with Dinah Banda taking advantage of confusion between Captain Julia Rutjindo and VijakuraTjingaete to make in 2-0 in the 31st minute.

The floodgates continued, as another defensive lapse, this time by goalkeeper Schuster misjudged the bounce of the ball, leaving PraynenceZvawanda with an easy task of heading into an empty net to make 3-0 with 33 minutes played.

Defensive mix up continued to haunt the Gladiators when Rutjindo and Tjingaete failed to clear a ball that had bounced off the bar, and Banda was on hand to score her second goal of the match and make it 4-0 going to halftime.

Second half saw a much improved defensive performance by Namibia as they matched their Zimbabwean counterparts.

The Young Gladiators were able to create a few half chances of their own with TjamuneneNdjavera shooting weakly at the goal keeper in the 62nd minute while Rutjindo's free kick was easily gathered by Shonga in the 8th minute.

In the 88th minute, Namibia could have scored a face saver when Tjingaete found herself in the box but missed the target.

The defeat see's the Namibian under 20 women's team crash out of the 2019 tournament while South Africa qualifies top of the group with nine points, followed by Zimbabwe with six.

Coach Mervin Mbakera bemoaned the individual mistakes by the team saying from the centre start, Namibia were already under pressure.

Three goals were purely individual mistakes. We also did not create enough to win the match. The scoreline is not a good reflection of the game. This is a new team which is work in progress as most of the previous girls have progressed to the senior team, he said.

He added that the Zimbabwean team was physical and his girls could not match their opponents, saying her players have gained enough experience to compete when at the next tournament.

Namibia has three while Mozambique failed to register a single win from three matches.

The top two teams qualify for the semi-finals.

Source: Namibia Press Agency