Young Gladiators beaten by SA to finish second
Ball possession is key in creating chances and winning games in football, a lesson learned by the Young Gladiators following their AUSC Zone 5 Games 5-0 crushing by champions South Africa on Saturday in Luanda, Angola.
The two sides met in the final after South Africa finished top and Namibia second in the four teams mini league contested over the past week.
When the two sides met in the group stage, South Africa beat Namibia 2-0 but the Young Gladiators ensured a final berth by beating Zimbabwe 2-0 in their opening game and the host Angola 2-1 before trouncing Angola 4-0 in the semi-finals.
In the final, South Africa, who managed to impress throughout the tournament and players such as Karabo Dlamini and Linda Matlhola, managed to grow their confidence from the regional games. A hat-trick by Dlamini and two goals from Matlhola was all they needed to unease the Namibians.
After the match, Young Gladiators coach Bryan van Staden said it was a tough battle against South Africa but his ladies has learned that possession is crucial in international football.
“You have to keep possession of the ball so that you control the match and we tried that very hard against a well drilled SA side. The ladies learned a lot from the five games played and they will have to adapt and improve as a team”, van Staden said.
In the third-place playoff match, Angola who’s campaign to the tournament did not start very well but ended much better as they managed to get the bronze medal after a convincing 4-0 win over Zimbabwe earlier today.
Captain Ana Afonso got a brace after scoring in the 19th minute and a world class shot from range in the 80th minute, while the other two goals came courtesy of Jemima Pedro Kindumbo in the 15th minutes and Eleuteria Pinto in the 68th minute of the match.
In the men’s bronze medal encounter, Zambia managed a 4-2 hammering over Swaziland, out at InterClube Stadium.
The men’s final will take places today, 18 December 2016. The trophy will be contested for by hosts Angola against Zimbabwe in what promises to be an electrifying encounter. Kick-off is scheduled for 17h00 at Coqueiros Stadium.