Brave Gladiators head coach Paulus Shipanga says preparations for the 2023 Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup are between 70 and 80% complete.
The team now eyes the final stretch of training before they face Botswana on Friday.
Speaking to New Era Sport from their camping base in South Africa, Shipanga said the players are getting fitter with each passing day, but they face a few challenges in motivating the players.
“We have been in camp for a long time now, and the players are starting to feel it. I think fatigue is starting to set in. But as a technical team, we are working hard to motivate them. We are trying to make training as fun and exciting as we can through team-building exercises,” he said.
The Gladiators played a practice match against a mixed South African senior team and U/20 players.
Shipanga said they had given the girls an afternoon off yesterday to make sure they took their minds off football and had a stroll in Johannesburg before resuming training today.
With regards to the match on Friday, Shipanga said they aim to win the match and start off well so as to have confidence going into the two other group matches.
“Our aim is to win; we want to do well in the tournament. We have to beat Botswana in the first match, which is why we are working so hard preparing for this tournament,” Shipanga explained.
As for his squad, ‘Wire’, as Shipanga is also known, said there are no major injuries with Ivonne Kooper and Julia Rutjindo, who are both recovering from minor knocks, which is why a few players have caught flu.
Namibia’s best performance at Cosafa was when they reached the finals in 2006, losing 3-1 to South Africa.
Last year, they made it to the semifinals, losing 1-0 to South Africa before beating Tanzania 2-1 in the third-place playoff.
This time around, their aim will be to go one better and reach the final, but they have to navigate a tough group comprising rivals and neighbours Botswana, returnees Zimbabwe, and Lesotho.