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Gladiators through to meet Morocco

Namibia’s Brave Gladiators are through to the next round of 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers after holding Equatorial Guinea to a goalless draw on Tuesday. 

News about the match in the Equatorial Guinea capital Malabo was scarce, but the Namibia Football Association uploaded a short video clip on their Facebook page of the emotional coaches Paulus Shipanga and Robert Nauseb celebrating with some of the players at the final whistle. 

It was a great performance and upset by the Gladiators, who are only ranked 27th in Africa and 146th in the world, compared to Equatorial Guinea, who are ranked sixth in Africa and 70th in the world. 

The result at the Estadio de Malabo saw Namibia winning the tie 2-0 on aggregate after they beat Equatorial Guinea 2-0 at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg last Thursday.

Namibian captain and star midfielder Zenatha Coleman opened the scoring in the 34th minute, while Ivonne Kooper made it 2-0 early in the second half. 

Namibia have now qualified for the next round where they will meet African heavyweights Morocco in October. 

Morocco, as one of the seeded teams, qualify automatically for the second round along with six other teams, namely South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Tunisia and Botswana. 

Morocco is ranked seventh in Africa and 72nd in the world. 

Besides that, Morocco, SA, Nigeria and Zambia have also qualified for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup which gets underway in New Zealand and Australia today. 

Nigeria is the top-ranked African nation with a world ranking of 40, while SA is second and 54th in the world, and Zambia ninth and 77th in the world.