Gladiators aim for Cosafa glory with Liechtenstein friendlies

Team doctor Hilma Uugwanga reported a clean bill of health ahead of today's opener.
With the quest for Cosafa Women's Championship glory firmly in their sights, the Brave Gladiators are raring to go in a pair of international friendlies against the Liechtenstein national women’s team.

These matches, scheduled for today and Sunday, serve as an important stepping stone in their preparation for the upcoming tournament in South Africa.

The Cosafa women’s title has eluded Namibia for many years, but coach Woody Jacobs and his squad are determined to rewrite that narrative.

The Cosafa championship is a major target for the Gladiators, and the friendly matches against Liechtenstein provide a crucial opportunity to build up the necessary game time, according to Jacobs.

Liechtenstein's women’s team is a relatively new outfit, having only debuted internationally in 2021. Their team is not yet FIFA-ranked and rely heavily on players competing in neighbouring Switzerland due to there being only three women's clubs in Liechtenstein.

Despite the apparent disparity, Namibian coach Woody Jacobs isn't taking these friendlies lightly. He views them as crucial preparation for the Cosafa tournament.

“There's nothing friendly about these friendlies," Jacobs emphasized. He wants to maximize this opportunity to ensure his team is ready for Cosafa.

The Gladiators wasted no time getting down to business, holding their first training session yesterday morning at the FC Ruggell training centre, surrounded by the majesty of the Swiss Alps and the Hoher Kasten mountains.

Jacobs was pleased with the team's response after the long journey and is optimistic it will translate well into the matches.

“We want to use these friendlies to prepare for the Cosafa Women's Championship, a tournament that has been elusive for us," Jacobs stated.

He acknowledges Liechtenstein's lack of ranking, but views them as a "first-world country, a European nation," and believes these matches will provide valuable game time and the right mindset for the upcoming Cosafa challenge.

Adding depth to the squad, Germany-based professionals Vewe Kotjipati and Nicole Philander joined the 17 players who traveled from Namibia, giving coach Jacobs more options to work with.

Team doctor Hilma Uugwanga reported a clean bill of health for the Gladiators, with no major nor minor injuries.

Captain Lovisa Mulunga echoed coach Jacobs' sentiment, expressing the team's readiness for the upcoming clash.

About the host country

Both friendly matches, on 11 and 14 July, will be played in Ruggell and no longer in Zurich as initially planned.

Ruggell is a municipality of 2 322 inhabitants, situated along the Rhine River, where the international borders with Switzerland and Austria meet.

Liechtenstein is the sixth-smallest sovereign state in the world by area. Measured south to north the country is about 24 km long.

The country’s total area (160 square kilometres) is about 3 percent the size of Windhoek, with a population of about 40 000.