Last week saw qualifying countries finding out who their opponents for the forthcoming TN Mobile CAF African Women Championships are.
Namibia’s Brave Gladiators were grouped with Nigeria, Zambia and the Ivory Coast and while many think it’s a tough draw for the hosts I believe it could have been worse.
Imagine if South Africa (a power house in women football) was not seeded, Gladiators could have ended up in the same group with South Africa and Ghana. These are the teams that beat Namibia at home this year with Ghana defeating Namibia by 3-1 at Hage Geingob stadium earlier in the year while South Africa defeated the Brave Gladiators 2-1 at the Sam Nujoma stadium recently.
Now let’s forget about the could have and could have not, it’s now Nigeria, Zambia and Ivory Coast and its game on. let’s examine our opponents, Nigeria is a strong team and they have dominated women’s football in the continent for many years having won the championships a record eight times more than any side…They will give our ladies problems, although a win is what we need in this game, a draw won’t be bad either.
Then there is Ivory Coast who are the reason why reigning African champions Equatorial Guinea will not be able to defend their crown after they were knocked out of this year’s edition by the Ivorians during the qualifier.
If they hadn’t knocked out the defending champions, then they were likely to have been called underdogs. Prior to this they have only appeared once in this competition in 2012…Our ladies have to avoid defeat against this team if they want to progress.
Zambia only appeared twice in this competition and the last time they appeared was in the 90’s (1991 and 1995) but the side will be motivated by their junior counterparts’ historic qualification for the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
It’s a must that the Brave Gladiators must pick up three points against Zambia to have any chance of progressing.
Brave Gladiators will have home advantage and they have the chance to become the first football team in Namibia to qualify for a World Cup as long as they achieve a third spot or better as the top three teams will qualify for the 2015 Women’s World Cup to be hosted in Canada.
If they qualify they will become the only third National team to qualify for a World Cup behind Welwitschias and the National Cricket team.
Apart from this being the first biggest sport event hosted in the Land of the Brave there are many stakes up for grabs. This can open up opportunities to bid and finally host the African Cup of Nations. We will do our part and now it’s up to the players to do us proud but whatever happens between the 11 and 25 October we must at least progress beyond the group stages … It’s over to you ladies!