Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THE Mighty Warriors finally left the country yesterday for their 2016 Olympic Games qualifier first leg soccer encounter against Cameroon today at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde. The senior national women side’s trip had been in doubt as ZIFA struggled to raise resources for the trip until the intervention of the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Makhosini Hlongwane, who mobilised resources for the team on Thursday.
The Mighty Warriors had been scheduled to fly out on Thursday but the national football mother body failed to raise funds for the trip. This is despite the fact that they committed themselves to FIFA to fulfilling this tie when Cote d’Ivoire withdrew in August, leading to the senior women’s side progressing to the last round of the qualifiers.
The return leg will be in two weeks time. The winners from this tie qualify for next year’s Olympic Games. The Mighty Warriors had less than a week of training after they trooped into camp last Sunday under the guidance of a new technical team led by Shadreck Mlauzi assisted by former Mighty Warriors player Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda and Johannes Chikaola.
Peter Masibera is in charge of the goalkeepers. Although hopes are that the Mighty Warriors write their own piece of history by qualifying for the Olympic Games for the first time, it is the way their preparations are done since these qualifiers began early this year as they have always had to compromise because of lack of resources.
The team was expected to arrive in Yaoundé last night ahead of today’s game. With Cameroon competing at the World Cup in June and reaching the finals of the African Games recently all odds are against the Zimbabwean side taking into account that they last played a competitive game against Zambia in May and they won the tie on away goal rules after it ended 2-2 on aggregate.
Despite all the challenges they have had to deal with, the Mighty Warriors are keeping their heads up and captain Felistas Muzongondi said they are ready to go. “We have been in camp this week and we knew about this assignment, so as we were at our clubs we were working on it so that we can come out with a better result. Now that we have been together in camp, the coaches have taught us a lot, we have learnt a lot and the best way to achieve our goal is to apply all that we have been taught by our coaches and remain focused so that we can come out with the best result.
“The morale in camp is high because we keep on encouraging each other and our coaches have been motivating us as well as some of our supporters.
“We want a win that’s what I can say. This is a new game and like what I said before we just need to apply ourselves and focus, concentrate for the whole 90 minutes. Cameroon is a good team but their play is just the same as Ghana and we have played Ghana so it’s not completely a new game,” said Muzongondi.
Seasoned Mighty Warriors midfielder Marjory Nyaumwe believes they have what it takes to upset their West African opponents when the two teams face-off this afternoon. “For now we are not reading much in Cameroon being a strong team, we are all equal. We have had good preparations, all is good with us.
“I would want to urge the new players to be confident, football is the same be it at club level or at national level, they just need to play their normal game. “We expect a win and it’s possible for us to get that result,” said Nyaumwe. Coach Mlauzi said this should be the dawn of new era in women’s football.
C. Dzingirai, L. Magwede, S. Makoto, L. Mutokuto, N. Majika, E. Msipa, R. Kapfumvuti, R. Neshamba, E. Jeke, M. Nyaumwe, F. Muzongondi, E. Chibanda, S. Moyo, A. Bhamu, C. Muhara, F. Chasi, R. Makore, V. Ndlovu.