19 July 2019 – Namibia are confident they can come out on top at the 2019 COSAFA Women’s Under-20 Championships that will be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay from August 1-11.
Captain Julia Rutjindo says the team has been preparing well under coach Mervin Mbakera, and that they believe they have a shot at being the inaugural champions of the new COSAFA tournament in this age-group.
“So far we are happy with the training. I see us going places at the tournament,” Rutjindo told Xinhua. “We are going there to make history by winning it. It is every player’s dream to win cup.
“We might be the underdog but we can surprise many people. The coach is doing a great job and I like his coaching method.”
Namibia will open the tournament when they play a Group A clash against Mozambique on August 1, before a clash against hosts South Africa two days’ later.
They finish their pool play against Zimbabwe on August 5, with only the top two teams in each group advancing to the semifinals.
The Baby Gladiators have attempted to qualify for the African Under-20 Cup of Nations for Women since 2010, but have only once made it to the second round.
They were then edged 3-2 on aggregate by DR Congo in 2010, and have since lost out to Ghana (0-10 on aggregate), Zambia (0-3), DR Congo (0-5) and South Africa (0-9).
The side took their place in the 2014 AUSC Region 5 Games women’s Under-20 tournament, gaining a draw with Botswana, but also losing to Zimbabwe and South Africa.
They reached the final of the competition two years later, but again lost out to the South Africans, while in 2018 they finished fourth after a 2-0 loss to Zimbabwe in the bronze medal match.