Windhoek-The Namibian women’s youth football team, the Young Gladiators, will be given a lifeline when the girls welcome back three key players for their clash against South Africa at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Sunday.
Hosts Namibia face an insurmountable task as they go into the match with the mammoth task of having to overturn the jumbo five-goal deficit from the first leg of the France 2018 FIFA Women Under-20 World Cup qualifier, played in Johannesburg a fortnight ago.
The team has been boosted by the return of three Gladiators who were part of the senior squad, the Brave Gladiators, at the Regional Cosafa Women Championship, in Zimbabwe earlier this month.
All-rounder Memory Ngonda, midfielder Millicent Hikuam and reliable shot stopper Mellissa Matheus all make a welcome return to the fold. Head coach Mervin Mbakera is happy to have his most valuable squad members back in the fray.
“These players are very important for us and their return can only increase our chances of playing much better. We are also going to dedicate this particular match to the people that have been there for us from the football association, the schools. So we will be competitive at all times and promise to give a good account of ourselves, come Sunday,” charged a confident Mbakera, youngest son of former Life Fighters flying winger Jaezz Mbakera.
The youthful former Tigers skipper/coach added that they have so far worked very hard on the issues from the first game that led to their 5-0 demolition at the hands of their Sunday opponents.
“We had two weeks to rectify our mistakes but we should also not forget that we had some positives from that defeat as well.
“We managed to restrict them for almost 33 minutes, never allowing them a single shot at our goal, and inside 20 minutes we manufactured two free-kicks from inviting positions, including three corner kicks, so we just have to build on that and move forward.”
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