Matheus ready to fight for number 1 jersey
By Michael Uugwanga
BRAVE Gladiators first choice shot-stopper Melissa Matheus said she is aware of the stiff competition she is facing for the number one jersey at both club and country, from her fellow clubmate Agnes Kauzuu and from Galz & Goals veteran goalkeeper Lydia Eixas.
The number one jersey in football always carries an extra level of scrutiny.
Eixas was the country’s undisputed number one ‘keeper for many years until after the 2014 African Women’s Championship that was held in Windhoek when she stayed away from the game due to personal reasons.
Matheus has been a regular starter for local club Tura Magic Ladies in the Namibia Women Super League ahead of fellow teammate Kauzuu and she had also been the number one for the Brave Gladiators since 2017, but that has not been the case for her in the last few months.
She was an unused substitution in the first international friendly match against Angola on April 7 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in a 4-0 win, and in the second international friendly match also against Angola she was replaced by Kauzuu in the last 15 minutes, a sign that she will need to be at her level best if she is to hold on firmly to the position.
“I made my debut for the Brave Gladiators in Zimbabwe at the 2017 Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup. It is an honour to play with Lydia (Eixas) in the same team as I am learning from her experience. Yes, she is giving me competition but I am not going to give up so easily. In order to reclaim the number one spot I will need to work very hard. All one has to is to show the coach what one can do and believe in yourself, let your teammates trust you and start to trust your teammates as well,” said the soft-spoken Matheus.
Asked if she was surprised by her non-involvement in the first friendly match against Angola, Matheus admitted that it came as a ‘big surprise’ when coach Robert Nauseb decided to go with Eixas.
“Yes I was surprised but I was happy for her (Eixas) because it was just a friendly game, so the coach told us that everyone one will get a chance to play. I am confident that I will keep my position in the upcoming qualify games.”
The Brave Gladiators will later this year be involved in the African Women’s Championship qualifier against Botswana, of which Nauseb will once again have to make a big call on who to start between the sticks.
In 2018, it was reported that Matheus was leaving for college football, however that was not the case: “No I was not going to the USA, as I was only aware of my way to Germany, but because of Covid- 19 I couldn’t go”.