Namibia, Liechtenstein engage in friendly fire

Zenatha Coleman in action against Ghana. File photo

The Brave Gladiators intend to make optimum use of the friendly matches against Liechtenstein to prepare for upcoming international assignments, Namibia head coach Woody Jacobs said yesterday.

The matches on 11 and 14 July will be played in Zurich, Switzerland, and offer both teams precious minutes to test personnel and combinations ahead of more pressing engagements.

It will be a first international match against teams outside their continents for either side, with both teams keen on the experience.

Jacobs anticipates that The Blues-Reds of Liechtenstein will give the Gladiators a thorough workout, even though they are not a Fifa ranked nation at the moment.

“I’m so glad that the football association, under the direction of the technical director, has accepted this invitation against a European counterpart,” said Jacobs, who named a training squad of 30 to get ready for their mini-European tour.

“Although they have fallen out of the rankings [due to inactivity], you wouldn’t say we will run over them. It’s a good opportunity to showcase our skills and try and prepare in the best possible way,” Jacobs said.

“We want to prepare for Cosafa and for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) together and see how best we can get this team in the best possible shape to start qualifying for big tournaments to showcase the talent that Namibia has.”

Jacobs’ opposite number, Adrienne Krysl, believes facing the Gladiators will be invaluable to their development project.

“We are excited and looking forward to the upcoming international matches against Namibia in our own country. It is a wonderful opportunity for our team to present themselves in front of a home crowd and gain valuable international experience. The encounter with Namibia will be an exciting challenge for us. We hope that many fans will take the opportunity and support us in the Widau leisure park,” Krysl said in a recent interview with the Liechtenstein Football Association.

Liechtenstein is Europe’s fourth-smallest country, with a population of just 39 000. Their women’s national side only made their international debut in 2021 and have since played 15 matches, a total which is insufficient to appear on the Fifa world rankings.

In contrast, the Gladiators have engaged in 90 international matches since 2003, when they first started out at that level.

Namibia are currently ranked 126th out of 193 nations by Fifa in women’s football.

“Namibia is certainly in very good physical shape and these matches will be an educational and inspiring experience for our team. It will be a special event for Liechtenstein women’s football and we are ready to do our best,” said Krysl.

Jacobs said the Gladiators’ European premiere is the perfect tune-up for Namibia’s ambitions on the African continent, where they have significantly made up the ground on leading nations in recent outings.

“I think they’ve [Gladiators] come on in leaps and bounds. Our objective this time around is to prepare this team in such a nature that we can go out for the first time and win Cosafa,” said Jacobs.

“It’s something that has eluded the Gladiators for so many years. We always fall short on reaching that. The last time we reached the final was in 2005, and the last time we reached the semi-final was in 2022.”

“So, this time around, we want to go all out. And, also with the mindset of getting that elusive Wafcon qualification that has been eluding us in the two editions,” said Jacobs, who believes his “golden generation” have been unlucky.

“We were close in 2022 against Zambia when we lost out to them, and also when we lost out to Ghana with a 3-2 aggregate score in June last year.

“So, we are preparing this team because we believe that this team can go all out. Yes, Wafcon is still far away because the qualifications will only start next year but the more we play, the more we have this group together, the better we become.”

In the training squad are:

GOALKEEPERS – Melissa Matheus (Beauties), Agnes Kauzuu (Ongos) Lucinda Batista;

DEFENDERS – Lydianna Nanamus, Emma Naris and Lovisa Mulunga (all Ongos Ladies), Ndapewa Katuta (Khomas Nampol), Utuzuvira Kahiriri and Kamunikir Tjituka (both Beauties), Veweziwa Kotjipati (Borussia Mönchengladbach II), Vijukura Tjingaete (Girls and Goals);

MIDFIELDERS – Kordom Annouschka (Capital FC), Twelikondjele Amukoto (Khomas Nampol), Millicent Hikuam, Shanice Daries, Kylie van Wyk and Asteria Angula (all Girls and Goals), Usuta Rutjindo, Memory Ngonda, Juliana Blou, Elmarie Fredericks, Ivone Kooper and Thomalina Adams (all Ongos), Anna-Ida Somses (Vpower Angels), Zenorita Auxamus (Namib Daughters);

FORWARDS – Zenatha Coleman (Fenerbache), Anna-Marie Shikusho (Ongos), Fiola Vliete (Beauties), Nicole Philander (Hanover 96) and Beverly Uueziwa (Girls and Goals).

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