The national under-20 ladies side are ready to battle the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday in Kinshasa in a quest to make an appearance at the FIFA Women Under-20 World Cup 2016 to be held in Papua New Guinea.
Young Gladiators coach Bertus Bock is realistic about his team’s chances away from home in an expected hostile environment. “We will go there to compete. It won’t be an easy game. It will be extra tough for us as our girls go away and play in a front of big hostile crowd and they might be overwhelmed by the atmosphere. But we have prepared them, talked to them and we expect great discipline and dedication from the girls.”
Bock added that the team will also use the match to bid farewell to former Young Gladiators Alberta ‘Chicken’ Dawes who was laid to rest last week. A memorial service was held for Dawes on Wednesday night at Football House. “The players have committed to make sure they send ‘Chicken’ to heaven in great style. They will do their best for their country and for her memory. She was part of the team last year and a friend to most of the girls in the current team,” said Bock. On a lighter note, the Young Gladiators will count on experienced players such as Germany returnee Memory Ngonda, who started for the Brave Gladiators during the 2014 CAF Women Championship that was held in Windhoek last October. “Memory’s experience will come in handy. She is versatile and we will try to use her to the benefit of the team. But again, it is a team sport and we will need her to bring the others into the game and ensure we get what we want. A win will be a bonus but a draw will be good enough as well,” said the former Tura Magic and Olrando Pirates coach.