Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
IT’S four days before the Mighty Warriors lock horns with Cameroon in the Olympic Games final round qualifying match at Rufaro and coach Shadreck Mlauzi believes they have to raise their game if they are to book their place at the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil.
Zimbabwe lost 1-2 in the first leg, with Rudo Neshamba scoring the important away goal that has kept the Mighty Warriors’ chances of qualifying for the Rio Games alive.
Mlauzi said they need to focus on their strengths as a team if they are to overcome their opponents in this decider.
“The demands of the game have increased. The Cameroonians played at high tempo for 90 minutes, so we must be able to match them in terms of intensity, in terms of the way we apply ourselves in duels and in terms of the physical aspects of the game hence the emphasis is on the aspects of the physical game.
“They (Cameroon) were a physical side, technical to some extent, very tactically organised and at times they were very direct and to the extent that they could be very physical at times.
“So it will suit us if we stick to our strength, we are more of a technical side, so if we stick to our strength we will be okay,” said Mlauzi.
Mlauzi, who called 32 players into camp, has since trimmed down his squad to 25.
The dropped players are Sifundile Moyo, Sithembile Nyoni, Sheba Rauli, Margaret Kawinga and Amanda Five while Melody Musasa and Pamela Bvochora failed to make it to the training camp due to other commitments.
“We will further trim the team. We are hoping to play a practice match against Harare City boys on Thursday, it’s a chance for us to assess the players in a match situation and after that we can make a decision who fits in the team.
“The team is shaping up now that we have had more time to train,” said Mlauzi.
The Mighty Warriors coach said they were also working on the mental side of their players to ensure the team handles the pressure during the game.
“Football is a game of pressure but the most important thing is how we manage the pressure and I am sure I am too experienced to be able to handle such situations.
“I have gone through the hammer mill in terms of my coaching experience, so really, we will see on match day.
“It will also trickle down to the players, the way that we prepare them mentally, to be able to absorb the pressure and at the end of the day manage the pressure so that we make use of the talent that the players have.
“They have the talent but we have been the nearly man of Africa because we have always been just a step away but we could not just manage to make it to most of the major finals,” said Mlauzi.
Cameroon are expected in the country on Friday.
The winner between Zimbabwe and Cameroon will be joined by the winner between South Africa and Equatorial Guinea for Rio 2016.
Chido Dzingirai, Lindiwe Magwede, Vanessa Lunga, Nobuhle Majika, Lynette Mutokuto, Sheila Makoto, Eunice Chibanda, Faith Chasi, Chido Muhara, Prisca Khumalo, Emmaculate Msipa, Rejoice Kapfumvuti, Felistas Muzongondi, Viola Ndlovu, Aldigrade Bhamu, Daisy Kaitano, Mavis Chirandu, Rufaro Machingura, Talent Mandaza, Rudo Neshamba, Kudakwashe Bhasopo, Erina Jeke, Rutendo Makore, Sibonginkosi Nleya, Marjory Nyaumwe.