Doëseb confident ahead of second leg

• By Michael Uugwanga

AFTER seeing his U-20 female side lose 3-0 away to Burundi over the past weekend in their first leg tie of their 2022 African U-20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers, coach of the Baby Gladiators Rodney Doëseb remains confident  ahead of the second leg tie to be played in Soweto, South Africa at the Dobsonville Stadium on October 7.

If Namibia is to have any chance of progressing to the second round of qualifiers they will need to overturn the three-goal deficit against Burundi, however this will require a collective effort from both management and the players.

Speaking to Confidente Sport this week after making a quick return to Namibia before going to South Africa, Doëseb said his team lost the first leg against a well organised and fit Burundi team.

The Namibian U-20 only trained for a week and a few days unlike the Burundi team that has been in camp for a month.

“We lost to a well organised and fit Burundi team that has been in camp for a month. We only had two training sessions before we went to Burundi.  We conceded the first goal in the fifth minute because the players are not fit. Now we have at least 10 days of training which could help the fitness level. We conceded the second goal before half-time, and we conceded the third goal in the last minute,” said Doëseb.

Doëseb one of the few highly qualified coaches in the country with a Confederation of African Football (CAF) A Licence said that he expects two of his key players to be available for the second leg tie after they sustained injuries.

“Chantelle Gan-Gan Engelbrecht did not play the first leg because she was not fit. Lerato Swartbooi got injured in the first leg, but they are all expected to be fit. In the second leg anything is possible. We will just need to put pressure to Burundi in the first half.”

The senior women national side the Brave Gladiators will start their Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Women’s Championship run today against Uganda.

Despite the team being faced with injuries on key players such as striker Anna-Marie Shikusho, captain and defender Emma Naris and winger Thomalina  Adams, coach Woody Jacobs is happy with the squad he has at hand.

“Shikusho will be a bit longer out but she is accompanying the team to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, as part of the 24-woman squad. Emma has also recovered as she has started training. I think we have a good squad, a very balanced squad and we are blessed with some good players. The result against Uganda will lay the foundation for any progress because we want to start well,” said Jacobs.

After Uganda, Namibia will face Zambia on October 3 before they take on Eswatini in their final group match on October 5.