The Brave Gladiators toppled neighbours, Zambia’s Shepolopolo, with an easy win 2-0 on Saturday in their first ever appearance at the CAF Women Championship.
The Brave Gladiators defeated Shipolopolos 2-0 courtesy of a well orchestrated goal by Stella Williams and Zenatha Coleman much to the delight of the nearly N$10 000 spectators. Thomalina Adams made it 2-0 on 20 minutes when she fired in a brilliant free-kick from 25-metres out to send the Namibian crowd wild, including Prime Minister Dr. Hage Geingob who was in the stands.
Meanwhile, Adams was surprisingly awarded with the player of the match award ahead of Namibia’s goalkeeper, Lydia ‘Slim Kat’ Eixas and Zambia’s midfielder and captain, Kabange Mupopo who were outstanding for their countries.
Eixas had a great game, making some great diving saves from Misozi ZuluKabangwe Mupopo who was troubling the Namibian defence. Eixas also saved shots from Helena Mubanga as well as Susan Banda’s efforts.
The result puts the Brave Gladiators on top of Group A with a better goal difference than Nigeria who survived a scare against Ivory Coast in their 4-2 win.
During the half-time of the Nigeria 4-2 win over Ivory Coast, Premier Hage Geingob came out of the VVIP box to congratulate the ladies on their deserved victory.
“‘I’m so proud of you today. You came here and you did the job well. The goals were beautiful and the crowd loved you today so please continue this and I urge the public to return on Tuesday as you face Ivory Coast and I urge you to do more of today,” the Premier said briefly as he shook each of the players’ hands amidst “Omake-Omake” chants from the appreciative Gladiators.
The Championship title sponsors Managing Director, Frans Ndoroma, also joined the band-wagon of praises.
“Thank you for the victory and please continue to do well in the championship and go as far as possible. Thank you and well done,” said Ndoroma.
In an all West-African affair, Nigeria’s striker, Ugochi Oparanozie, scored a brace, first in the 73rd minute and again in the 86th minute with Ukpong Sunday also on the score-sheet after Ivory Coast defender, Miriam Diakite, scored an own goal. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast’s Christine Lohoues pulled a goal back for the Ivorians to make it 3-2 before goals from Tiegnou Coulibaly and Christine Lohoues.
Nigerian midfielder Ngozi Okobi was the Player of the Match.
Speaking to The Villager Sport after the match, Nigerian coach Edwin Edem Okon is confident that his side will go all the way and lift the cup.
“We are not under pressure being favourites for the tournament. We are here to reclaim the cup. It is not about how many players have played in this competition because we select players based on their form,” said Okon.
Nigeria’s captain Nwabuoku Evelyn Chiedu said her side is yet to heat top gear.
“This is not yet the best Nigerian side tonight. We are working very hard and as the tournament progresses we will get better. Our best is yet to come,” said Chiedu.
Ivorian coach, Natogoma Clementine Toure is confident that her side will win its next two games against host Namibia and Zambia.
“I am very much confident that we are going to win the next two matches and proceed to the next stage. We are going to work hard on our defence this time around,” said Toure.
Namibia will now prepare for the wounded Elephants of Ivory Coast on Tuesday night, 20h00 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium after the Nigeria vs Zambia match at 17h00.
Entrance is still free and tickets are already available at Computicket and at Football House for collection.