Gladiators captain on being a female footballer
• By Michael Uugwanga
NOT much is known about Brave Gladiators captain Emma Naris who plays in the heart of the defence for the national team and for her club Tura Magic in the Namibia Football Association (NFA) Women’s Super League.
Off the pitch, Naris is a quiet person but on the field of play she is very vocal; that is why she is respected by her teammates both at national and club level.
Naris made her Brave Gladiators debut at the tender age of 15 in 2010 against South Africa, when now NFA technical director, Jacqueline Shipanga was coach and from then on she has never looked back.
When she was given the captaincy position last year that had been in the hands of playmaker Zenatha Coleman, many had doubts, but that was not the case for Brave Gladiators coach Woody Jacobs who gave the armband to Naris.
Born 27 years ago in Windhoek, Naris has developed into one of the finest players the country has ever produced and she continues to do so at the highest level with the Brave Gladiators, notably in the recently held 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifier against Zambia.
Namibia managed to hold the Copper Queens 0-0 in Zambia before playing out to a 1-all draw in South Africa, but despite their efforts, the results prompted the 2020 Olympic Games debutant side to qualify to the Africa Women Cup of Nations in Morocco in July.
“I started playing football at the tender age of 11 for Pumpkin Ladies team, because I just love playing football. I fell in love with football because of Stacy Naris (former Brave Gladiators great) as I have always looked up to her when she was playing and as a result she was a good role model for me.
“I feel good to be the captain I was very surprised that I as given the captaincy,” said Naris.
At club level she has won every trophy with Tura Magic such as NFA/Skorpion Zinc Women’s or NFA Super league on numerous occasions and the NFA Women’s Super Cup (a competition equivalent to that the NFA Cup for men) last year.
But the only thing missing from her accolade collection is a trophy with the national team, but as it goes not all great players have won big with their national teams.
Her dream was always to play professional football and with time ticking and age against her, Naris still believes that she has what it takes to play professional football outside the country.
Even if she happens not to play professional football, Naris is already looking beyond football in another field.
“I really do not know why I am still not playing professional football, but I would like to play outside. I am also planning to enrol in a home-based care course,” said Naris.
“As long as I can I will continue to play for the national team.”