Baby Gladiators too light for muscular Flamingoes

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Windhoek

It’s back to the drawing board for the Namibian women’s youth football team, the Baby Gladiators.
Hosts Namibia suffered a humiliating (9-0 aggregate) defeat after going down 5-0 in their 2016 Jordan FIFA Women World Cup 2nd leg encounter against the visiting Nigerians.

Despite home ground advantage, the Namibians offered little resistance if any and were humbled as Nigeria scored 5 unanswered goals at the Sam Nujoma Stadium last Friday. Nigeria won the first leg 4-0 in Abuja a fortnight ago.

Buoyed by a largely fanatic-dominated home crowd, the hosts were up for the challenge of making a good impression at home against their more experienced opponents.

But any hopes that Namibia might have had in overturning the insurmountable 4-goal deficit evaporated into thin air when Nigeria scored the all-important away goal with three minutes gone on the clock to all but finish the match as a contest.

Defender Patience Dike opened the floodgates with a well-taken goal that caught the Namibian defence napping. The hosts’ firing line of Kylie van Wyk, Yvonne Kooper, Julia Rutjindo, Beverly Uueziua and Ashley Solomons tried all tricks in the book to conjure some forays but Nigeria proved impregnatable time and again.

Nigeria stretched their lead to 2-0, seven minutes before the halftime break after the wide awake striker Cynthia Aku finished with aplomb from close range following a lapse of concentration by Gladiators captain Sharon Pieters.

After the resumption, the hosts were pegged back and dismally failed to fashion any decent goal-scoring chances with poor decision-making and lack of strength proving to be their undoing.

Aku completed her brace on 53 minutes after a telling pass from skipper Rasheedai Ajibade, finishing casually past the advancing goalie Batista Kasume.

The impressive Ajibade was then denied a goal on 58 minutes by the outstretched legs of Kasume after a one-on-one situation. However, Ajibade was not to be outdone a second time when she finally registered her name on the score sheet in the 69th minute to give the visitors an unassailable 4-0 cushion.

Peace Efih put the final nail in Namibia’s coffin with a well taken strike from 20 metres out to all but end the contest with 5 minutes remaining (5-0).

Despite the humiliating loss, head coach Mervin Mbakera and his troops were given a standing ovation for the team’s courageous efforts by the partisan home crowd.

The team will now have to use the experience gained in the match against the Flamingoes in their remaining four matches in the qualifiers if they are to improve their game and make any significant inroads in the dog eat dog rigours of continental football.

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