Daunting task awaits

With nothing but pride to play for, the Young Gladiators of Namibia take on Botswana today.

31 January 2020 | Sports

The Young Gladiators will face Botswana today at the Gaborone National Stadium in the second leg of a 2020 Fifa Under-20 Women's World Cup qualifier after suffering a 7-0 defeat in the first leg on 19 January.

The loss resulted in coach Mamie Kasaona blaming the Fifa normalisation committee (NC) for what happened on the field.

She said the NC was aware of the scheduled match and should have called a training camp months before, as it was impossible to get the team fit in a week.

However, the NC responded that they had queried about the team's readiness to compete and offered them an opportunity to withdraw, but they refused.

With all said and done, the Young Gladiators have a mountain to climb, as they need to beat Botswana 8-0 if they are to advance to the next stage of the qualifiers.

Many fans feel that they face an impossible feat, given the team's showing in the first leg.

“The team shouldn't even have competed in the qualifiers to start with. The players were very mediocre. No tactical discipline at all,” said football fan Danny Jacobs.

“These are young players, which is understood. But Botswana also has the same young players. If you are not prepared, don't compete. Rather groom the players well and make sure they can play tactical football.

“The first match was just Mickey Mouse football. It was not worth the watch. How do you come back from that?” asked Paulus Don, another football fan.

The young players are still holding their heads high, with captain Julia Rutjindo saying they have the potential to make the country proud.

“We just have to push a bit harder than we did at home,” she said.

Vice-captain Shanice Daries added that although they their home game wasn't what they expected, they picked themselves up and plan on playing with pride and honour as they represent their country today.

The 2020 Fifa U-20 Women's World Cup will be the 10th edition of the tournament and will be hosted by Costa Rica and Panama.

The 22-player Young Gladiators squad is as follows: Fololian Hikwafelwa, Meagan Schuster, Sarafina Khuruses, Rouxchell Nasas, Ndapewa Sharon Peters, Albertina Aludhilu, Mercia Skrywer, Nicole Philander, Soini Sheenya, Vijakura Tjingaete, Veronica April, Indira Jacobs, Beyoncé Cloete, Shanice Blance Danes, Julia Usuta Rutjindo, Muhinatjo Hanavi, Diane Kock, Joanne Shapi, Chantelline Engelbrecht, Tjamunene Ndjavera, Lerato Swartbooi and Vipua Tjingaete.


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