The decision by the football motherbody, Zifa, to organise a friendly match for the Mighty Warriors against Egypt last week was a step in the right direction.
insidesport with MICHAEL KARIATI
Zifa were criticised for the results of the Rio Olympics where the Mighty Warriors were hammered 6-1 by Germany, 3-1 by Canada and 6-1 by Australia.
Prior to the Rio Olympics, the team had been in camp for two months, but did not play any international friendly matches.
The soccer governimg body, however, appeared to have learnt from that experience. The Mighty Warriors were given an opportunity to fine-tune with only a week in camp.
It has been argued that friendly matches have a lot of benefits ahead of tournaments and the game against Egypt could do a lot of good for the Mighty Warriors.
The friendly match against Egypt exposed the strengths and weaknesses of Shadreck Mlauzi’s team after a month’s break.
The match also exposed the weaknesses of the youngsters Mlauzi intends to take on board as replacements for the injured senior players, who might not be able to make it for the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon).
Among those injured are Rudo Neshamba, captain Felistas Muzongondi as well as Erina Jeke and they might not recover in time for the tournament.
The game also gave an insight into what to expect from Egypt, whom the Mighty Warriors have been drawn to face in the same group alongside Cameroon and South Africa.
With the Awcon two months away, more such friendly matches are needed to strengthen the Mighty Warriors for their African journey.
With their not-so-good financial position, Zifa should create as many friends as possible in order to survive.
Not all football federations are as broke as Zifa. There are a number of them willing to sponsor their teams to come to Rufaro Stadium and play, just as Egypt did.
However, the issue of friendly matches should not begin and end with the Mighty Warriors, but with the Warriors as well.
The Africa Cup of Nations finals are in January. To some, that might seem like far away, but in football, January is just around the corner.
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