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Junior Brave Gladiators get hammered

As débutantes on the international soccer scene, Namibia has a long way to go if the recent soccer results of the soon to be concluded Youth Olympic Football Tournament is anything to go by.
The youthful under 15 girls national soccer side currently in Nanjing, China got back to back defeats at the hands of Mexico and hosts China indicating that more work will have to go into preparing Namibia for international soccer tournaments. Said Head coach Mervin Mbakera on the eve of their defeat to Mexico and China respectively, “In the opening game [Mexico] the players were too nervous. They made too many mistakes and lost possession too quickly. In the second game against China, the players were obviously a lot calmer and played their normal game a lot more. The unfortunate thing was that in the face of the hosts’ onslaught we still lost. Perhaps that’s normal in a youth competition of this level.” Namibia lost 9-0 to Mexico in their opening match before losing 10-0 to hosts China. Added Mbakera, “Although they lost, the players gained experience. They know what kind of expectations are on their shoulders and they’ve also been able to gauge the standard of international competition. They can make a lot of progress in a tournament like this. If they continue to advance, then it’s conceivable that in the next four to five years many of them will get into the higher level national teams and even the senior set-up.” This year has been hailed as a landmark year for football with Namibia competing as hosts at this year’s Confederation of African Football African Women’s Championship, slated for October as well as Namibia’s maiden quest in this year’s Girl’s Youth Olympic Football Tournament.

“Several years ago our country launched the Women’s Super League, which is for adult women’s football .Two years ago we started the Galz & Goals U-15 girls’ leagues. Most of the players in this squad were selected from those leagues, which play a huge role in helping us to nurture young players,” continued Mbakera .The junior Gladiators still have one more chance to prove their star quality in the match for fifth place against seasoned YOG challengers Papua New Guinea on Monday. “Papua New Guinea are participating in their second Youth Olympic Games, so they have a lot of experience and will be very tricky opponents. But with our previous experience, we will give it our best shot and go all out to get a victory,” Mbakera said.

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