The adage that not all that is quiet is asleep has been proven true again with Namibia’s most celebrated women footballer Zenatha Coleman, who is silent on the local scene but making a name for herself in Lithuania.
The slim-built Brave Gladiators found a new football home in Europe but has kept her goal-scoring form consistent. She joined the Lithuania club Gintra Universitetas, a women’s football club from Šiauliai in May. The reputable club competes in the highest Lithuanian league, the A Lyga and has won 13 championships so far with the fourth one in 2005 and every championship since then. After its championships, the club played in the UEFA Women’s Cup and from 2009 onwards in the UEFA Women Champions League. Since her arrival at the club, the Namibia striker has netted 27 league goals in eight league matches and bagged numerous Player of the Match awards.
The 22-year old striker started her footballing career in the //Kharas and has been on the team sheet of Mountain Stars, JS Academy and Tura Magic where she played pivotal roles. This week, The Patriot caught up with the young striker, who is currently a stand-out player in Lithuania to find out how she has settled with the Gintra team.
Was it easy adapting to your new club?
It was not easy and it’s still not easy adapting. This is because of their style of play, the trainings and of course the language. There is also the vibe that we are here to be taught how to play and thus we are expected to play according to what you are told to. So it sometimes becomes very difficult because one needs to win games in a different style.
What are some of your recent successes?
Winning the cup final with the club back in June and walking away with the Player of the Match award during that final. I dedicated the award to my ailing grandfather.
Can you say you are currently on top for your club?
Yes, I’m always in top form. Avoiding injuries as much as possible and scoring goals.
What is the difference between playing in Lithuania and playing for a local club?
I would say, it’s pretty much at the same level – there is no difference at all. They have tactical players too just like in Namibia. It is just that here they only have six teams in the league which we play four rounds to finish the league. Back home we had 12 teams and I miss the crowd attendance in Namibia. At home, you can see that people are very interested to go watch the games and their favourite players. Here it’s another story because you go play in an empty stadium most of the times.
Your best Lithuania soccer moments…
I would say my best moment is yet to come because we have a long way to go as a team.
How many goals do you currently have?
I have scored 27 goals so far.
Which football star do you look up to?
It would obviously be Neymar Jr. I admire his playing style so I would like to be the female Neymar.
Your best Brave Gladiators moment
I know we did not do well in recent games such as losing out on a chance to this year’s Championship in Cameroon. But again, we just need to wait for another chance and we will improve on that. Otherwise, my best moment with the Brave Gladiators was in 2014 without a doubt. This was where people all over Africa saw the number 10 and I would never forget the love they gave me throughout the competition.
What team would you like to play for in the near future?
My goal is to play in England. It’s not only my goal but the dream of my grandfather too. Whenever we talk on the phone, he will always encourage me to work hard regardless of where I came from and to never forget our dream (to play in England). I would play for any team in England.
What do you think would improve Namibian women football?
Sponsorships! Funding will encourage our players to really put in a lot of effort. The women would play extra hard in cup tournaments knowing that they are at least playing for something that can also bring in a decent salary. We have a lot of footballers who do not work and it is a big challenge. So even if you have talent, you cannot just stand up to commit playing soccer for free. We need to make soccer attractive.