Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Liga Iberdrola is a good destination for Africans, says Valencia's Zenatha Coleman

Spain's Liga Iberdrola is a good destination for talented women's footballers in Africa, according to Valencia forward Zanetha Coleman.

The 25-year-old was a standout in Namibia's maiden African Women's Cup of Nations campaign on home soil in 2014.

Two years later, the Keetmanshoop-born star signed her first professional contract with Lithuanian side Gintra Universitetas and became the first Namibian female to play abroad.

"Namibian people have been really amazing to me. They've been supporting and encouraging me," Coleman told Goal.

"I got my most support from Namibia and I'm really proud representing my country very well abroad.

"I am the only Namibian playing professional football abroad and I hope in two to three years, I can have more Namibians coming to join me here in Spain. That's my hope now. "​

At Gintra, she had an unforgettable debut season as she scored a record 110 goals in only 31 outings - a scoring run which saw Spanish outfit Zaragoza come knocking.

In January 2018, Coleman jumped at the offer to play in Spain and she completed the move to the Estadio Pedro Sancho outfit, where she scored seven goals in 14 appearances.

During the off-season the forward, who dumped Zaragoza for Valencia, has scored seven goals in 26 games this term and is keen to see more Africans move to Spain, particularly Namibians. ​​

"Spain is a really good country and any player coming from Africa can adapt very easily. It's a good destination for Africans. Though it's a tough league I think most the African players have the skills and talent to do well here," she added.

"I was really excited seeing a lot of African players coming to Spain. I feel like having family members around me. When I see them in the other teams, it makes me feel proud to be an African."

Despite the early struggle to adapt to life in Valencia, Coleman, who has scored five goals in last 10 matches this term, also earned two nominations for Liga Iberdrola Player of the Week.

Carolina Miranda's ladies are eighth on the Spanish Liga Iberdrola log with 35 points from 29 matches but are currently on a five-match losing streak.

In spite of their recent poor run, she is upbeat about her chances of ending their currently season campaign on a fine note with a win at home against Real Betis.​

"My first season was with Zaragoza and I'm quite impressed with the Spanish league here," Coleman continued.

"I think it's very technical and tactical. So far, it's been really wonderful playing in Spain and I think it's one of the best leagues in the world. When I came to Valencia, it was very difficult for me to adapt to the style of play under a new coach and new teammates.
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"But now, I've managed to get into the starting line up, create some assists and score some goals.​ We didn't do enough to get a good start this season, but now we recently managed to get some wins.

"I have also adapted to the team's style of play and understand more what the team needs on and off the field. For us at Valencia, we've got our momentum now and we want to keep winning and hoping to finish the season strongly.

"The only difficult thing for me is understanding the language but it's just a matter of time, I will be able to speak Spanish. Currently, I understand Spanish when they communicate with me but yet to be able to speak it. I know I will soon."

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