Good Hunting Weekend for National Soccer Teams

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By Confidence Musariri The national soccer teams came out of their shells with inspiring and fruitful results over the weekend where they were in action across southern Africa. The Women’s national soccer team, alias The Gladiators, were in uncompromising mood in Zambia at the COSAFA Women’s tournament where they reached the finals on Saturday with some cricket-like score-lines. The Gladiators came out of their shell where they were regarded as lightweights, when they beat hosts, Zambia, in the semi-final to book a final berth with South Africa. The women’s national team had beaten Swaziland 6-0 before seeing off the hosts. The 2006 COSAFA Soft Touch Caf women’s tournament had regional heavyweights – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola and Swaziland – all gathered for a five-day football fiesta and it was coach Gabriel Fryer’s Gladiators that left their mark of brilliance in Zambia by reaching the finals. A gruelling 2-1 loss to South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in the final did little to dampen the spirit of revival that has gripped the Gladiators’ camp as they return home, today, New Era learnt. In Luanda, Angola former Black Africa coach policed the national Under-23 team a successful FESA (Eduardo dos Santos Foundation) four nations tournament when the Young Warriors beat Tanzania 3-0 on Friday. Tanzania, Mozambique and the Young Warriors were invited by the Angolan Head of State, JosÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© Eduardo dos Santos to mark the president’s 63rd anniversary. Dos Santos is the owner of FESA. At the time of going to press, the Young Warriors’ team manager told New Era from Luanda that Orlando Pirates’ Etienne Beukes was expected to lead the team upfront against Mozambique. Angola fielded an under-20 soccer team to thrash Mozambique 5-1 on Friday, but made entire changes on Saturday when they played a goalless draw with the Young Warriors. “We are going into the match against Mozambique needing four goals or more so that we beat Angola on goal aggregate,” Kozonguizi said at his pre-match interview. Both Angola and Namibia were on four points by late yesterday afternoon and the teams were now garnering for the top position of the four nations tournament. Tigers’ slippery forward Pienar Jacobs was the toast of the tournament while Beukes was yesterday expected to increase his tally after scoring a brace against Tanzania. The Young Warriors used the weekend’s outing as preparation for The 2008 Olympic qualifying game against South Africa this Saturday in Johannesburg. The CAF preliminary competition format is composed of three stages: First Round, Second Round and Final Group Matches, and the second leg of that encounter will see the Bafana Bafana Under-23s in Namibia on October 6 this year. Samaria has been quietly fortifying his own junior team empire ever since the squad was dumped out of the African Youth Championships by DRC earlier in the year. The bulk of the Under-23s are still in their early 20s where some featured in the SADC Zone Six games while others have won recognition into Ben Bamfuchile’s senior side. Efforts to get in touch with the senior national side in South Africa proved futile as Captain Henrico Botes’ phone went to voicemail. Barry Rukoro confirmed that team manager, Markus Damaseb, joined the Brave Warriors on Friday night where Ben Bamfuchile’s subjects were expected to play a friendly match. Results of that match could not be obtained except for the fact that the team has settled well in South Africa with preps of this weekend’s 2008 Nations Cup encounter with DRC. However, national team goalkeeper, Athirl Mbaha, broke camp to be a debutant in Black Leopards’ 2-0 victory over Moroka Swallows. The Namibian becomes the only goal-eeper not to concede a goal against Swallows as Leopards broke a jinx which has hung over them since attaining premiership status.