The senior women football team, Mighty Warriors, suffered a 0-3 loss to visiting South Africa in an international friendly at National Sports Stadium on Thursday 10 November 2016.
This is exactly nine days before the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) kicks off in Cameroon with Zimbabwe facing the same opponents in their opening Group B match. A brace from Thembi Kgatlana and a goal by Lendra Smeda earned South Africa the much-needed boost ahead of the biggest women’s football showdown in the region.
The Mighty Warriors are however not shuttered by the loss. The national assistant coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda is hopeful the team can make do with the short time they have.
“We managed to notice a number of things that need to be worked on. We were playing a tactically organised team and some of our players could not really rise to the level with which the match tactics demanded,” she said.
“As always the case, a team needs a lot of time to prepare for such a big tournament but we can’t always cry over time but utilise what we have to work on our shortcomings.”
The Mighty Warriors lost the game on and off the pitch with a lot of lessons to be learnt for preparing for a big tournament. Their opponents, for example, had a team of videographers and analysts capturing the game for analysis later. While this will empower their group B opponents at this month’s AWCON when they fine-tune their game in the coming week, the Mighty Warriors who have always have to scavenge for resources believe they will deal with what they had to experience.
“Modern football is always on how you work on your tactics, now that we have read their game, we need to see how we can counter attack them. Every team no matter how good they are has got some weaknesses that an opponent can always use for counter attacking, so we hope to do that (in Cameroon,)” said Kwinji 15.
The most embarrassing part of the game for the Mighty Warriors fans or the new captain, Talent Mandaza, was not how many times her goalkeeper had to collect the ball from her net but, it was failing to return the Banyana Banyana favor of a souvenir. After the match toss, Banyana Banyana captain Janine Van Wyk and Mandaza shook hands as per tradition and the visitor handed her hosts a souvenir with Mandaza empty handed. These are the small things the football mother body, Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), has neglected hiding behind their bankruptcy even with the smallest things that cost not more than US$10.
It’s no doubt, however, that despite all the challenges the mighty warriors have faced at home, they will do their best in Yaoundé.
MIGHTY WARRIORS SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Chido Dzingirai, Lindiwe Magwede, Manyara Mandara, Pretty Mtshazi.
Defenders: Ruvimbo Mutyavaviri, Danai Bhobho, Nobuhle Majika, Biola Mpofu, Patience Mujuru, Eunice Chibanda, Sheila Makoto, Sarudzai Chikoore, Nobukhosi Ncube.
Midfielders: Sifundile Moyo, Marjory Nyaumwe, Talent Mandaza, Mavis Chirandu, Emmaculate Msipa, Aldiglade Bhamu, Happiness Gumbo.
Strikers: Sibonginkosi Nleya, Maud Mafuruse, Rutendo Makore, Felistas Muzongondi, Kudakwashe Basopo, Berita Kabwe.
All images provided Grace Chirumanzu