Gladiators crash out despite 2-2 draw

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Zenatha Coleman’s second half brace was not enough as Zambia scored a goal each half to confine the Brave Gladiators to a 5-3 aggregate defeat after they played to two-all draw in their return match at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Friday afternoon.

The Brave Gladiators and Zambia met for their second leg match in the first round of qualification for 2016 Cameroon CAF Women African Cup of Nations with the score line 3-1 in favor of Zambia from the first leg, scored with just three minutes in Zambia took the lead through Grace Chanda following some dreadful defending from the home side.

With the score then at 4-1 on aggregate and Zambia having scored their away goal it was up to the Gladiators to try and score three to take the game into extra time, but try as they may, the home side failed to create any threating situation against Zambia. Regular defender Lovisa Mulunga, playing as a centre forward found herself wanting upfront as he failed to connect with playmaker Zenatha Coleman, Thomalina Adams and Memory Ngonda, who started the game on the right wing.

Speedy winger Barbra Banda and her teammates managed to hold onto their lead until half time and in the second half, it was Banda’s great determination and speed that created the second goal. She evaded a tackle from the sliding Uerikondjera Kasaona on the halfway line, raced down the left, draws Gladiators goalkeeper Agnes Kauzuu and defender Ester Hamukwaya out, before feeding an unmarked Chanda for a cool finish into an empty net on 47 minutes, just two minutes after the restart.

With the great vocal support from the stands, the Gladiators recovered well and it was the neat pass from Thomalina Adams that found the ever alert and clever Coleman who shot from a tight angle into the far right corner past the advancing goalkeeper Natasha Nali, to make it 2-1 on the day on 48 minutes.

With Lovisa Mulunga hauled off for Juliana Skrywer in the first half, coach Jacqui Shipanga continued to rang the changes as she brought on Vistorine Shangula for Ndapewa Katuta and Memory Ngonda, who later played a centre forward, making way for the veteran Stella Williams.

The Gladiators character eventually reaped reward as on 78 minutes, Coleman controlled a high ball with great agility only for the ball to be handled by a Zambian defender in the 18 metres area, Namibia awarded a penalty. Coleman completed her brace from the spot kick but it was a little too late as Zambia held on to draw 2-2 and progress to the second and final round of qualification, 5-3 on aggregate.