Despite having very little time to prepare and still smarting from a 3-0 rout at home to South Africa in a friendly match three days ago, the Zimbabwe Mighty Warriors are targeting reaching the semi-finals of the Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) finals which kick off in Cameroon on Saturday.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The performance against Banyana Banyana evoked the memories of the nightmarish Rio Olympics misadventure, where the team fell to heavy defeats and would still feel they were lucky not to have conceded a lot more goals last Wednesday.
Although his clearly unfit charges looked way out of pace against Banyana Banyana due to inadequate preparations, Mighty Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi was still adamant that his girls could confound expectations in Cameroon.
“We are an ambitious technical team. Despite the fact that we have little time to really work with the girls, we will always try our best,” Mlauzi said after the fine-tuning match against South Africa.
“Should we play well in the first few games, we should be able to get to the semi-finals and we move from there.”
Interestingly, the Mighty Warriors play South Africa in their first Awcon match in Yaoundé on Saturday and clearly have a lot to do — technically, tactically and fitness wise — after testing themselves against their better-prepared neighbours.
But there is less than five days to work on all those aspects for a team that has been in camp for just a week now due to administrative bungling by the cash-strapped local football governing body, Zifa.
“We will try our best. These are the conditions we have had to work under. So we will try in the next few days to do integrated training sessions. Where we work on fitness, we will at the same time be working on technical and tactical aspects so that at the end of the day, we don’t service one aspect in isolation,” he said.
While Mlauzi was happy that the team had, at least, had a preparatory match, it was the manner in which the charges buckled, rolled over and handed victory to South Africa without any fight which should be worrisome.
Only Rutendo Makore, the bustling striker, who came on as a second half substitute, showed the pedigree of a player who has been to the Olympics.
Others such as former captain Felistas Muzongondi, midfielder Mavis Chirandu, Nobuhle Majika, Emmaculate Msipa, Sheila Makoto and Kudakwashe Basopo were pale shadows of the players they are known to be.
Even the normally-dependable goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai had an error-prone afternoon.
However, Mlauzi reckons that they could still beat South Africa in the Awcon opener because they did not use their normal system of play in the friendly match as they had to do a few experiments.
In Group A, the Zimbabwe ladies team will also play Egypt on November 22, before winding up the group assignment with a date against Cameroon three days later.