Brave Gladiators’ star striker, Zenatha Coleman, will miss the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship that will be staged in South Africa from September 12-22 because the tournament falls outside the FIFA calendar, coach Brian Isaacs, has said.
The 24-year-old Coleman joined Valencia last month from Real Zaragoza, who were relegated from the Spanish top-flight league in May.
Coleman had joined Zaragoza on an 18-month contract in January following two success-laden years in Lithuania with Gintra University.
She scored seven goals in 14 matches that nearly saw Zaragoza pull off a remarkable escape.
Other high profile Namibia players who will not be at the COSAFA Cup this year are American based player, Annouscka Kordom, who plays college football at Corban Warriors University and German based, Veweziwa Kotjipati, who plays for fourth division club, Tus Lipperade.
The Brave Gladiators will be hoping to do better this year after they failed to go beyond the group stages in the competition last year in Zimbabwe.
Speaking to the Windhoek Observer this week, Isaacs said they will miss Coleman, whom he described as an inspiration on and off the field.
This year, Cameroon and Uganda will make their first appearance in the competition as invited guests.
Cameroon are ranked third best in Africa according to the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, behind only Nigeria and Ghana, and will be one of the favourites to lift the trophy alongside the defending champions, South Africa.
Isaacs welcomed the inclusion of the two invited countries, saying they will add quality to the tournament.
Namibia has appeared at the COSAFA Women’s Championships on three occasions in 2006, 2008 and 2017.
Namibia lost 3-1 to South Africa in the semi-finals of the competition both in 2006 and 2008, but failed to pass the group stages at last year’s edition, after finishing bottom of the group with three points.