Gladiators chase Wafcon spot

Ivonne Kooper in action for Namibia against Equatorial Guinea. File photo

Paulus Shipanga says the Brave Gladiators are more than capable of overturning the two-goal deficit to Ghana this afternoon and book their spot at the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon).

The Gladiators trail the Black Queens 3-1 from Friday’s first leg final round qualifier in Accra.

The homeless Namibians host the return leg at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, where their head coach Shipanga believes they will be a different proposition for the Ghanaians.

Shipanga said unforced errors conspired against his side in Accra and the encounter was closer than the scoreline suggests.

“It was just a bad day at the office, we did not lose because we were outplayed. We basically lost because of our individual mistakes and they cost us,” Shipanga said in an interview posted on the Namibia Football Association (NFA) website on Sunday.

“All those mistakes happen in football, we just have to rectify. We at least got one goal back, so I know we can get two this time around and we take the game to them.”

He expects that the Gladiators will be switched on from the onset while forcing the initiative and shocking the west Africans.

The winner on aggregate over the two legs qualifies for the 2024 Wafcon finals in Morocco.

“I’m very positive that we can get them (goals). I spoke to the girls, they understand the task. We’ve got nothing to lose. We’ll go all out attack and make sure we score in the first half in order to put them on the back foot.

The Gladiators are seeking qualification to the premier continental spectacle for only the second time in their history, with their solitary appearance coming nine years ago as hosts. After missing out on the last edition, Ghana are aiming for a 13th appearance at Namibia’s expense.

“It’s not gonna be easy. They are an experienced team with an experienced coach. But we’ve got a our game plan and on Tuesday [today] the game plan must work,” Shipanga said.

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