Gladiators can still qualify for Tokyo 2020 – Issacs

WINDHOEK, APRIL 8 – Following Namibia’s narrow 1 – 0 defeat at the hands of neighbouring Botswana last Friday in Gaborone, Namibia’s coach, Brian Issacs believes his team can still turn the tables and bum-rush a place for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Qualifier. The Brave Gladiators will have to go all out when they host the second part of the double-header tomorrow night at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.

“We are still in it and we will have home advantage and the ladies will surely be more confident and inspired,” said Issacs on the football association website Sunday, adding that Botswana had surprised them as they had come out the blocks faster and played better.

He added:”They kept the ball better and restricted our play deep. We were under pressure and they really surprised us with their game plan. We created about three good chances that we failed to put away but now we know better.”

Botswana’s Refilwe Tholakelo scored the only goal with the clock at 82 minutes, and when describing the goal, Issacs said: “It was goal from far outside the box; about the halfway line and it caught our keeper off guard and flew over her head and they closed shop”.

In a blow to his team, Isaacs will have to do without mercurial midfielder Thomalina Adams, who will miss the second leg after limping off with a suspected knee injury in the first half in Gaborone.

Both national teams arrived in Windhoek on Saturday afternoon to prepare for Tuesday’s finale, and the winner of that contest will face South Africa for a spot to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. – NDN Staffer