NFA rallies support for Brave Gladiators
Windhoek – President of the Namibia Football Association (NFA), John Muinjo, has called on Namibians to rally behind the national women’s soccer team, the Brave Gladiators, during the 9th edition of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Women’s Football Championship taking place from October 11 to October 25 in Windhoek.
This past week, Muinjo made a clarion call on football supporters to buy replica jerseys of the national team and ‘paint the country’ red during the team’s matches.
The Brave Gladiators go into battle with seven other African teams for the bragging rights of the women football on the continent.
Other teams taking part in the biennial competition are Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia.
Namibia is drawn in Group A up against Zambia, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. While Group B – dubbed the group of death ‑ consists of Algeria, Ghana, Cameroon, and South Africa.
In a Press statement issued on September 29, Muinjo said the spirit of the team will “be highly boosted” if all Namibians can acquire the national team replica jerseys and wear them, especially on Fridays.
“We need to have the women championship fever going, and as Namibians we can add motivation to our team and push them to new heights by buying the team’s replica jerseys and wearing them on Fridays in support of the team. The team needs our support and we have to show them that we are behind them and believe in them,” said the football chief.
Meanwhile, the Algerian and Ghanaian teams arrived in Namibia on Sunday, and the remaining five teams are expected as from October 7.
Algerians were the first to arrive, after a 38-member delegation touched down at the Hosea Kutako International Airport on September 28.
Head coach Azzedine Chih told the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) that they decided to come early for the team to acclimatise as well as to prepare the youthful team against tough opponents in Group B.
“We have been drawn in a tough group, and it will be very difficult if we do not get used to the environment first,” he said, adding that they have been together for the last six months only.
“If we are to have any chance of beating Ghana, Cameroon, and South Africa, who have already been at the World Cup and Olympics, then getting used to the place and weather will be a great start,” he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, NFA earlier announced that entrance to all the African Women Championship matches will be free to the public.
NFA Secretary-General, Barry Rukoro, earlier made the announcement while the football body presenting the CAF Women Championship Trophy to the main sponsor TN Mobile.
Mobile operator TN Mobile has partnered with CAF as the title sponsor of the African Women Championship, in an agreement worth around R6million.
TN Mobile is one of two mobile operators in Namibia, and is the subsidiary of national telecommunications operator, Telecom Namibia.
Tickets can be collected at the NFA Football House in Windhoek or at Computicket outlets in Checkers and Shoprite retailers countrywide. There will be new tickets for every game, and the general public should get their tickets before each game, Rukoro said.
Rukoro had remarked that: “We are busy talking to school principals because we want them to engage the youth to come to the stadiums and support the teams. Some of the Brave Gladiators are working in the different Namibian forces (military and police), and it will be very nice to see a stadium packed by people from the law enforcement agencies supporting the colleagues.”
The CAF Women Championship is a biennial competition in women’s football for national teams on the continent, and has served as a qualifying tournament for the FIFA Women’s World Cup every other year since its inception in 1991.
The top three teams by the end of the competition are going to represent Africa at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
The competition take place as the continent battles with the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, with Nigeria one of the country that was affected by the disease.
But Nigeria, together with Senegal were given a clean bill of health as Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO) this past week.
Meanwhile, the Namibian Football Association officials have expressed confidence that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will not dampen the country’s resolve to successfully host the African Women’s Championship.
Rukoro earlier said the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the tournament had the situation under control and is working together with health authorities.
“We have people on the ground in terms of how to test for the disease and there are measures in place. They will be tested in their own countries, but also here in Namibia before they are declared as fit to compete,” Rukoro made the assurance. * Additional reporting by Nampa