Africa-Press – Namibia. THE Special Gladiators return home tomorrow with glistening Unified Cup gold around their necks following a whirlwind adventure to the United States of America.
The youngsters acquitted themselves commendably on their debut appearance at the week-long global spectacle for the intellectually disabled in Detroit, culminating in winning the Division 3 gold medal.
Two first half strikes from partner Motjaritje Tjaveondja and one from athlete Angeline Sihova after the break yielded a comfortable 3-0 final win over the United Arab Emirates.
“We’re very happy. It’s great to have the girls winning and enjoying themselves,” said head coach Eliaser Amuthitu Special Olympics Namibia used the Unified Cup to absorb what is needed to further develop their football program.
They train and compete in accordance with the Special Olympics athlete oath – ‘Be Brave in the Attempt!’
That is how they approached the final, taking the game to their rivals from the first whistle and getting rewarded with victory in the end.
“It wasn’t much of an easy game even though we scored three goals. We kept going. I told the girls is all about positive attitudes. They came a long way. The spirit was awesome,” Amuthitu said.
“This is what we were looking for, at least now we have something to hold and move forward. We have something to jump up and down for.”
The organisers hailed the tournament a success, after a full week of highlighting the importance of inclusion through teams comprised of footballers with and without intellectual disabilities playing together.
“Even though the Cup is officially over, we hope that you continue to be inspired by the talent our athletes bring on and off the playing field – in sport, in the classroom, in the workplace, in their communities,” the organisers said.
The winning Namibian team consists of Motjaritje Tjaveondja, Angeline Sihova, Kavemumuine Kambai, Unao Karipata, Uundamuje Mbaisa, Remember Uasora Mengo, Vitjituaije Master (captain), Fololian Muayolange Hikuafelua, Anna-Ida Heidi Somses, Okeri Hitjitevi Haakurua and Kristofina Benyameni.
Head coach Amuthitu is assisted by Special Olympics Namibia Ambassador and Brave Warriors legend Sylvester ‘Lolo’ Goraseb.
Emilia Nzuzi is the team manager, with Dr Iyaloo Nambuwa the medical officer and Werner Jeffery the head of delegation.