(Zimbabwe win 3-2 on aggregate)
MIGHTY Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi says he is happy his charges managed to progress to the final qualification round of the African Women’s Cup of Nations despite being held to a draw by Tanzania at Rufaro yesterday.
Zimbabwe went into the match carrying a 2-1 lead from the first leg and a 1-1 draw was enough to see them through to the next stage. They will now meet their regional rivals Zambia next month.
And ZIFA president, Philip Chiyangwa, who attended yesterday’s match at Rufaro, promised the Mighty Warriors that they will get all the money from the gate takings for their efforts.
Zimbabwe got their goal from Daisy Kaitano in the 11th minute. Kaitano scored from a close-range from a rebound after Mavis Chirandu’s effort hit the near post.
Chirandu had met a cross from Emmaculate Msipa, who was having a good day in office, on the right flank.
The Mighty Warriors had to come from behind after Tanzania took the lead just four minutes into the game when Donisia Daniel converted a penalty.
Mlauzi said it was a tough match and admitted that his side did not play to their level best.
“It was quite a difficult match. We expected this and we knew going into this match that it was going to be difficult but at the end of the day we played way below par.
“We were not cohesive as we would have wanted to be. Our girls perhaps was playing against a huge shoulder of expectations, at the end of the day, it builds on muscle tension and you don’t play to your level best.
“But the same girls played a fantastic game away from home. So again it was that shoulder of expectation that comes when playing at home. But other than that we dug deep and we managed to get the result we wanted,” said Mlauzi.
Tanzania drew first blood through a penalty from a defensive blunder by the Mighty Warriors rearguard when Lynett Mutokuto failed to clear a back pass from Kaitano inside the box and the ball was intercepted by Tanzania striker Mwanahamis Omar before Mutokuto handled the ball.
Mlauzi said their away win came in handy but would have wanted his charges to do better as the Mighty Warriors play was not up to scratch yesterday and began their game on a slow pace.
“Of course it (winning away from home in the first leg) played a part but at the end of the day we wanted to play better than what we did. Look we are preparing for the Olympics, we expect a lot better from our girls. So we want to say we will go back to the drawing board and work on the mindset.
“I think at the end of the day it was a question of the mindset more than a question of the tactics because away from home the girls were able to implement the same tactics brilliantly,” said Mlauzi.
Mlauzi said they are looking forward to their next tie against Zambia and added that they know the threat they pose in their quest for success.
His counterpart, Nasra Juma, was pleased with her team’s performance although they were eliminated from the qualifiers.
“My girls are doing their best. The football played today was very standard for the level of African Championship.
“The only problem is that we lost our home match so now the draw is going to see Zimbabwe going for the next round of the African qualifiers. I congratulate them, they were the better team and they won. I wish them the best. But Zimbabwe needs to do a lot, Zambia is a good team,” said Juma.
It will be an interesting tie when Zimbabwe meet Zambia as the former will be hoping to gain some measure of revenge over their neighbours from the north of the Zambezi River after they were eliminated by the Zambians during the 2014 qualification of the same tournament, then known as the Africa Women Championships.
The latest competition, Zambia beat Namibia 5-2 on aggregate. They won the first leg 3-1 at Nkoloma Stadium before they held Namibia to a 2-2 draw at Sam Nujoma Stadium on Friday.
Zimbabwe: C. Dzingirai, F. Muzongondi, E. Chibanda, S. Makoto, N. Majika, L. Mutokuto (P. Mujuru 46minutes), D. Kaitano, E. Msipa, M. Chirandu (E. Jeke 66 minutes), R. Neshamba (K. Bhasopo 73minutes), M. Nyaumwe.
Tanzania: B. Julius, A. Rashid, S. Athimani, D. Daniel, F. Maonyo, A. Katunzi, H. Henzron, F. Makusanyo, A. Bilali, M. Omar, F. Mastafa (M. Kaimu 54minutes).