The national under-17 women football team drew one-all against South Africa in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers at Sam Nujoma Stadium, Saturday.
Head Coach, Jacqueline Shipanga side saw midfielder and left-footed Melissa Matheus single-handedly taking on SA defenders head-on with a cross neatly taken by Abrille Beukes’ clinical finish in the 20th minute.
SA enjoyed most of the ball possession in the middle of the park with their left-winger Koketso Mamabolo and midfielder, Caitlin Fryer creating chances that were not capitalised by the striking force.
The SA head coach brought in substitutes; Shenell Jacobs and Caren van Reyneveldt in the second half. It eventually paid off as Reyneveldt netted home the equaliser 15 minutes to the final whistle.
A goal by Jacobs was disallowed leaving the score line at one-all.
The Baby Gladiators defence line were up to the task as captain Lovisa Mulunga and her fellow charges; Eddelisisingh Naris and Annouscka Kordom were up to the task giving little room to SA to expose number one goalie, Melani Hikuam who displayed brilliant savings into the final minutes of the game.
Namibia’s defenders played extremely well and some fans urged Shipanga to reconsider roping in the defenders to the Brave Gladiators training camp in preparation of the African Women Championship second leg tie later next month.
The Baby Gladiators will lock horns against South Africa in the second leg match slated to take place in early March.