Gladiators prepare for Cosafa glory with Liechtenstein friendlies 

The Brave Gladiators take on Lichtenstein in an international friendly today. File photo

With Namibia’s quest for Cosafa Women’s Championship glory firmly in sight, the Brave Gladiators are raring to go in a pair of international friendlies.

The matches against the Liechtenstein national women’s team, scheduled for today and Sunday, serve as a crucial stepping stone in their preparation for the upcoming tournament in South Africa.

The Cosafa Women’s Championship has eluded Namibia for many years, but coach Woody Jacobs and his squad are determined to rewrite the narrative.

The Cosafa Women’s Championship is a major target for the Gladiators, and the friendly matches against Liechtenstein provide a crucial opportunity to get in the necessary game time, according to Jacobs.

Liechtenstein’s women’s team is a relatively new outfit, having only debuted internationally in 2021. They are not Fifa-ranked and rely heavily on players competing in neighbouring Switzerland due to there being only three women’s football clubs in Liechtenstein.

Despite the apparent disparity, Jacobs isn’t taking these friendlies lightly. He views them as crucial preparation for the Cosafa tournament.

“There’s nothing friendly about these friendlies,” Jacobs said, adding that he hopes to maximise the opportunity to ensure his team is ready for Cosafa.

The Gladiators wasted no time getting down to business, holding their first training session yesterday morning at the FC Ruggell training centre, surrounded by the majesty of the Swiss Alps and the Hoher Kasten mountains.

Jacobs was pleased with the team’s response after the long journey and is optimistic it will translate well into the games.

“We want to use these friendlies to prepare for the Cosafa Women’s Championship, a tournament that has been elusive for us.”

Jacobs acknowledged Liechtenstein’s lack of ranking but said he views the European nation as a “first-world country” and thus, he believes the matches will provide valuable game time and the right mindset for the upcoming Cosafa challenge.

Adding depth to the squad, Germany-based players Vewe Kotjipati and Nicole Philander joined the 17 players who travelled from Namibia, giving Jacobs more options to work with.

Team doctor Hilma Uugwanga reported a clean bill of health for the Gladiators, with no injuries leading into the first friendly.

Captain Lovisa Mulunga echoed Jacobs’ sentiment, expressing the team’s readiness for the upcoming clash.

Both friendly matches will be played in Ruggell and no longer in Zurich as initially planned.

Ruggell is a municipality of 2 322 inhabitants, situated along the Rhine River, where the international borders with Switzerland and Austria meet. – nfa.org.na

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