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Namibia aim to reach elusive final

Namibia were semifinalists in the Hollywoodbets Cosafa Women’s Championship last year, but narrowly lost 1-0 to hosts South Africa, before a 2-1 defeat to Tanzania in the third-place play-off.

It was still their best showing for many a year as they finished runners-up in their pool behind Zambia with two wins against Eswatini (5-1) and Lesotho (2-0). That is a platform they will build from for this year’s tournament as they seek a first final appearance in 17 years.

Namibia has seven previous appearances at the Cosafa Women’s Championships when they turned out in 2006, 2008, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022.

In their first showing in 2006 they claimed an excellent 2-2 draw against 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 went on to beat 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.

Namibia 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) and a draw with East African guest nation Uganda (0-1) meant they did not progress to the knockout stages.

Namibia 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 took four points in 2021, drawing with a strong Uganda team 0-0 in their opener, before a 3-0 loss to Zambia and a 1-0 win over Eswatini.

The 2023 Cosafa Women’s Championship will be staged in Gauteng from 4 to 15 October, where Namibia will compete in Group C.

Their opening group match is against Botswana on 6 October, followed by Zimbabwe on 9 October, and Lesotho on 11 October.