Angola coach Sousa Garcia has named a preliminary squad for the 2021 COSAFA Women’s Championship that will be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay from September 28-October 9, including veteran captain Lídia Lubano.
The squad is made up of 12 players aged under 23 and so is mostly a youthful selection showcasing the future of women’s football in the country.
The youngest member of the squad id 19-year-old Margarete Salvador from CD 1 Agosto, who have supplied four players to the squad.
There are a further six players from Clinica Sagrada Esperança, who have the largest number in the selection.
Angola have been drawn in Group A at the tournament and will take on Mozambique in the competition opener next Tuesday. After that they face hosts South Africa three days later, before a match against Malawi to round out their pool play.
Only the top team in each of the three groups and the best-placed runner-up advance to the semifinals.
Angola will be making a return to the COSAFA Women’s Championship for the third year running in 2021, having taken a hiatus from the competition before their showing in 2019, and have appeared in four of the eight previous finals overall.
It shows the emphasis that is being put back on the women’s game in the country, after they failed to enter the qualifiers for the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cups.
They have also not played in the continental qualifiers since attempting to reach the 2010 African Women’s Championship, though they had entered the 2020 preliminaries that were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are back in the preliminaries for the 2022 continental finals and will meet COSAFA rivals Botswana in the first stage.
They have twice before been to the African Women’s Championship. In 1995 they reached the semifinals but lost 6-4 on aggregate to South Africa.
They appeared again in 2002 but drew two and lost one of their three first round matches and finished third in their pool. Their first appearance at the COSAFA Women’s Championship finals was in 2006 when they lost to Zimbabwe in a first round tie that ended up being played over two legs.
It was initially a three-team group, but when Mozambique withdrew, Angola and Zimbabwe played two games against one-another, that were won 3-1 and 1-0 by the Mighty Warriors.
They featured again in 2008, this time as hosts, and made it all the way through to the final against what was essentially an Under-20 selection from South Africa after a clash of fixtures for the senior national team.
The South Africans still proved too powerful though as they claimed a 3-1 final win in a competition where then striker, and now centre-back, Noko Matlou netted 12 goals
Angola returned for the 2019 championship, but found the going tough, winning just one of their three pool matches. They opened the tournament with a 4-1 loss to Zimbabwe, and that was followed by a 4-0 defeat to Eswatini.
They managed to gain some pride back with a 3-1 victory over rivals Mozambique in their final pool game to finish third in Group C.
They were back again last year and following a 2-0 opening loss to South Africa, managed a 1-1 draw with Comoros Islands and a thrilling 4-3 victory over Eswatini.
Manuela Simao, Lídia Lubano, Matondo Matuvova, Cristina Makua, Yara Lima, Sandrina António (all Clinica Sagrada Esperança), Zeferina Caupe (Tchapesse CA FC), Sara Luvunga, Ana Da Costa, Margarete Salvador, Laurinda Maonte (all CD 1 Agosto), Domingas Kananga, Saka Kondovila, Teresa Evariisto, Isabel Vidal (all Paulo FC), Fátima Faria, Beatriz Augusto, Erica Panguila (all GR Kilamba), Ladainha Haufiku (Atletico Cunene), Eleuteria Pinto (DC Exercito)