Young Gladiators7-0 defeat a wake-up call for administrators

Michael Uugwanga

THE 7-0 drubbing of our Young Brave Gladiators by the Botswanan women’s under-20 team on home soil last Sunday was a true reflection of where we are in terms of our football, starting from the top leadership down to us the supporters, fans, sponsors and the media as a whole.

We seem not to have learned from past experience whenever we lose a match at home and last Sunday’s convincing loss to Botswana said it all. We still have a long way to go in taking our football to another level.

Last year, the Brave Gladiators lost 2-1 on aggregate in the 2020 Olympic Qualifiers and in the COSAFA Cup Women Championship we lost 1-0 to the same Botswana side, yet we did not rectify or identify the mistakes we previously made against Botswana.

We all know that our eastern neighbours play their football from the back to midfield, be it their senior team or their junior team, as they once demonstrated against our Young Brave Gladiators that  evidently struggled to keep five passes together.

The Namibia Football Association (NFA) top leadership is really to blame for all of our defeats (7-0), (1-0) and the 1-0 defeat in the first leg of the 2020 Olympic qualifier in Botswana, before we were held to a 1-all draw on home soil in the second leg last year, that saw us lose 2-1 on aggregate.

All I know is that the NFA’s women’s desk has been hard at work preparing the team against Botswana, but alone they cannot do it without the financial muscle from the mother body, the NFA, which apparently continues to overlook the importance of women’s football in the country.

It is well documented that the NFA’s top leadership have failed the nation in promoting female football, in contrast to men’s teams, in particular the Brave Warriors.

The NFA knew about our match against Botswana but failed to allocate resources to the technical team of the Young Brave Gladiators so that the team remain in camp during the festive season, as the Botswana Football Association did for their U-20 women’s team, as they evidently appreciate the importance of the qualifiers.

I personally have no grudges against those currently occupying the hot seats in an interim capacity (the Normalisation Committee) but I can fairly direct the blame to the previous administration that failed to lay a strong foundation to make women’s football more visible.

I just learned that the NFA has been receiving about N$20+ million from FIFA every year for the development of football in the country, but it seems that most money is spent on the Brave Warriors, while we have other national teams that also need to benefit from FIFA money, such as the Brave Gladiators, and junior men and women national teams.

In the days to come, the Young Brave Gladiators will travel to Botswana to play the return leg of the 2020 FIFA Women U-20 World Cup Qualifiers. Let’s give them the backing they need.