Lack of match fitness and poor concentration were the downfalls of the Brave Gladiators in their 2-0 defeat to Zimbabwe on Thursday night at the Sam Nujoma stadium in the 2018 Confederation of African Football (CAF) African Women Cup of Nations qualifiers, first Round first leg match.
This is the assessment of coach Brain Isaacs after his side lost 2-0 to the visiting Mighty Warriors who got their goals from Marjory Nyaumwe and Mavis Chirandu in either half to compete a comprehensive away win.
“We conceded two goals due to lack of concentrations and you could see that our poor match fitness as well played a part in the match. At the break I told the ladies to believe and have more confidence and that showed a bit in the game but overall we could not create enough or score the few we had. But I still believe we can go to Zimbabwe and do our best yet again and see what we can get from it”, Isaacs says.
The Gladiators had an early chance with a Zenatha Coleman corner kick was missed by his teammates on 12 minutes before the dangerous Nyaumwe shot inside the box past Melisa Matheus to make it 1-0 on 22 minutes from a well taken free kick by Felistas Muzongondi.
Coleman continued to be the only threat for Namibia and won a couple of free-kicks from the half hour mark but her delivery somehow failed to connect with her teammates time and again, while she had the last one of the first half over the bar from a promising position.
On 48 minutes, Memory Ngonda run down the right before chipping in a delightful cross that Coleman misguided and then Nyaumwe could have scored her second as she pounced onto a loose high ball, past Mamie Kasaona before shooting over the cross bar with the Matheus at her mercy.
On 63 minutes, Coleman again was in the thick of things as she anticipated a high ball that bounced over the goalkeeper missed and Coleman headed towards goal only for a defender to clear off the line.
Erina Jeke could have made it 2-0 at the far post as she was at the end of a swift counter by the visitors only to be denied by the legs of Matheus.
Zimbabwe second goal finally came on 90 minutes thanks to substitute Mavis Chirandu, who unleashed a powerful low drive into the right corner from the edge of the box past the hapless Matheus.
Zimbabwe and the Gladiators will be jetting out on Friday morning to prepare for their Sunday, 08 April return leg in Harare. The winner will advance to the second round where either Tanzania or Zambia awaits and the eventual winner books their tickets for the finals to be held in Ghana.