New Namibia coach Woody Jacobs says he is hoping to unlock the incredible potential of the side as they head into the 2021 COSAFA Women’s Championship that will be played in Nelson Mandela Bay from September 28-October 9.
Jacobs has been appointed to lead the side having previously worked as assistant coach and is tasked with helping Namibia win a first ever regional title in the women’s game, which he believes is achievable.
“When I got the call, I jumped at the opportunity,” Jacobs said. “There’s so much potential. I believe with the right combination of desire, effort and methods, the team can become formidable.
“When I leave here one day, I want to leave with the team ranked under 100. That is doable.”
Jacobs says he hopes to inject youth into the team and believes his experience can help the side grow.
“I see a young upcoming team, which can do wonders in women’s football. I want to share what I’ve learned in football with them and try to achieve those things that in the last 10 years have been elusive to them.
“Although they’ve had some success here and there, especially with development of the game, growing the team into a formidable outfit and to be one of the feared teams in Southern Africa is something that I want to work towards.
“You can only do it through competitions and playing regularly. COSAFA [Women’s Championship] is one of them, we want to see if we can bring the title home this time around.”
Namibia have been drawn in Group C in Nelson Mandela Bay and open their campaign against East African guest nation Uganda on Sept. 30. They will then meet Zambia on Oct. 3 and finish their pool play against Eswatini two days later.
Namibia have five previous appearances at the COSAFA Women’s Championships when they turned out in 2006, 2008, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and have largely excelled in the regional showpiece competition.
The Brave Gladiators have always been tough competitors in the past and the same will be expected when they feature this year, having missed out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In their first showing in 2006 they claimed an excellent 2-2 draw with Zambia and then thumped Eswatini 6-0 in the pool stages, enough to see them into the semifinals as runners-up in their group.
They gained revenge over Zambia with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory after a 1-1 draw but lost in the final to South Africa when they went down 3-1.
They reached the semifinals again two years later, but this time were ousted at that stage by South Africa, ironically by the same scoreline.
They had less success in 2017, beating Botswana 4-0 in their opener, but then losing 2-1 to Lesotho and once again suffering a 3-1 loss to South Africa to finish bottom of their pool.
The following year they beat Eswatini 4-1, but a defeat to Zimbabwe (0-1) a draw with East African guest nation Uganda (0-1) meant they did not progress to the knockout stages.
They were back again in 2019, but won only one of their three games, an 8-0 hammering of Mauritius. Before that they lost to Botswana (0-1) and Zambia (2-3).
They will meet Tanzania in the preliminaries for the for the 2022 continental finals, having made one appearance at the African Women’s Champions League when they hosted the competition in 2014.
They beat Zambia in their opening games 2-0 but then lost to Ivory Coast (1-3) and Nigeria (0-2) in a tough pool and did not advance.