Gladiators’ captain Kasaona optimistic

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Brave Gladiators captain Uerikondjera Mammie Kasaona hopes the team will do better than the last two editions of COSAFA Women Championships they competed in when they participate in the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe from September 13-24.

Kasaona who has been captain of the Gladiators since 2012 says the ladies plans on doing better than in 2006 and 2008 and she personally intends to leave good legacy.

“It is going to be a tough competition and we are not turning a blind eye to that. The group that we find ourselves in is quite competitive and strong but if we manage to beat Lesotho and Botswana, South Africa won’t be much of a problem. The ladies are serious about this competition and wants to prove that they can compete” Kasaona explains.

The Gladiators have been placed in Group C along with neighbours South Africa‚ Lesotho and Botswana and Kasaona says that lack of football for the players in the past year will not be an excuse.

“Despite not playing competitive football or featuring in any international games, I am impressed with the fitness level of the girls. The only challenge we are currently encountering is that the Under 20 ladies will be competing in the World Cup Qualifiers tournament at the same time we competing and it would have been better if we used some of the matured players from that team to strengthen our team” states Kasaona, who captained the team during their only CAF Women Championships, held in Windhoek in 2014.

The Brave Gladiators have always been tough competitors in the past and the same will be expected when they feature in Zimbabwe in 2017.

In their first showing in 2006 they claimed an 2-2 draw with Zambia and then thumped Swaziland 6-0 in the pool stages, enough to see them into the semi-finals as runners-up in their group. They then beat Zambia with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory after a 1-1 draw, but lost in the final to South Africa when they went down 3-1.

They reached the semi-finals again two years later, but these times were ousted at that stage by South Africa, ironically by the same score line.

The side will be led by experienced coach Brian Isaacs in 2017, and will be looking to build on their appearance and will be travelling to Zimbabwe on Friday, 08 September and open their campaign on Wednesday, 13 September, 10h30 against Botswana.