Namibia bound finalists spark preparations

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Perpetua Nkwocha

With a little over a month to the open­ing of the TN Mobile 9th African Women Championship, the finalists have launched preparations geared towards the tourna­ment scheduled for 11-25 October in Namibia.Hosts Namibia, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Zam­bia are in Group B whilst Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana and South Africa make up Group B.
The winner, runner-up and third-place team will represent Africa at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada next year

ALGERIA

Head coach Azzedine Chih has called up 25 players for the second stage of preparations from 24-28 August at the Na­tional Tehcnical Centre in Sidi Moussa. ‘Les Fennecs Dames’ will move to the third stage of preparation afterwards where they are due to engage in test games.

GHANA

The Black Queens have been in camp since 29 July 2014 prepar­ing for the final tournament. Coach Yusif Basigi is monitoring 25-players in the exercise as he gears to name his squad for the final tourna­ment. The team is camping at the GFA Technical Centre in Prampram, located on the outskirts of Accra.

NAMIBIA

The Brave Gladiators have engaged in two friendly games the last few weeks. The hosts suf­fered a 2-0 loss to South Africa in Johannesburg on 10 August 2014 in their first match. Ten days later, the Brave Gladiators boosted their prepara­tions with a 5-2 thrashing of Botswana in Windhoek. Striker Tomalina Adams scored a hat-trick whilst Rita Williams and Lovisa Mulunga were also on target to seal victory.

“It is really comforting to score five goals in one game, but we also need to learn that even when we are going for­ward, we still need to defend in numbers so that we can keep a clean sheet,” Coach Jacqueline Shipanga said after the game.

The Brave Warriors are also considering similar tests against Algeria and Ghana to wrap up their preparations for their maiden appearance at the biennial tourna­ment.

NIGERIA

Six-time winners, Nigeria, have announced 1 September 2014 to begin preparations for the tournament. Head Coach Ed­win Okon has declared that four players from the Falconets squad that claimed silver at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada will be included in his provisional 33-man squad. The quar­tet is made up of Ugo Njoku, Sarah Nnodim, Loveth Ayila and Halimatu Ayinde.

The Super Falcons share the record of having participated at every edition of the flagship women’s football tournament with Cameroon and South Africa.

SOUTH AFRICA

The Banyana Banyana are prob­ably the busiest team in terms of preparations. The South Afri­cans, have played no less than three test games during the last few weeks as coach Vera Pauw fine-tunes her side for the tournament. Banyana Banyana beat Namibia 2-1 in Johannes­burg on 10 August 2014 before beating fellow finalists, She-polopolo of Zam­bia 4-0 on 24 August away in Lusaka. Veteran forward Portia Modise netted a second half hat-trick adding to Shiwe Nongwanya’s first half opener.

Meanwhile, the South Africans are due to face Tanzania in yet another friendly on Sunday, 31 August 2014 in Polokwane.

ZAMBIA

The She- Polopolo, who will be debut­ing at the tourna­ment lost 4-0 to South Africa in their first test game played on Sunday, 24 August 2014 in Lusaka. The Zambians move into resi­dential camping on 1 September 2014 and are scheduled to face Cameroon at a yet-to-be-determined date to wrap their preparations.

of last Sunday’s draw at Sunderland passing back­wards or sideways, will be encouraged that Di Maria has 11 assists in his last 11 league outings.

Van Gaal should also be able to call upon Marcos Rojo, the fearsome Argen­tine signed for £16m from Sporting Lisbon, to bring order to a quite lacklustre defence. Rojo has been waiting for his work permit to come through, another frustration for the fallen giants.

It will mean nothing to Van Gaal but the folk of Burnley will recall United’s last visit there with a warm smile.

A sensational vol­ley from Robbie Blake handed the Clarets victory about this time back in 2009, a famous result and what turned out to be a highlight in a season that saw them slide straight back down to the second tier.

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