Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
MIGHTY Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi has applauded his charges for a good show in Tanzania after they emerged winners in the first leg of the Africa Women Cup of Nations first round last Friday. Zimbabwe beat Tanzania 2-1 in their opening match of the qualifiers played in Dar es Salaam. They got their goals from Erina Jeke and they are now hoping to pull through to the last qualifying round when the two teams meet for the return leg on the weekend of March 18 to 20 in Harare.
Mlauzi said although they faced several challenges in Tanzania, he is happy they managed to prevail over their opponents. “It was a difficult game really, the team had to endure with a lot of mind games before the game but at the end of the day the girls came through despite the many challenges that we faced in terms of the mind games.
“The match venue was a bit far off from the hotel, I think about an hour and some minutes. We were against a back drop of heavy traffic, at the end of the day we did not train. We also considered such facts as time to move from and to the hotel.
“We had to endure yet another level of mind games just before the game in the dressing room when they thought one of our players, Viola Ndlovu was not using her passport. At the end of day they lodged a protest against us yet the match commissioner was behind us.
“But when it comes to the match it was okay except that I was not happy with the level of officiating because they (Tanzania) scored from a clear off-side. So we were rather disappointed by the officiating, we had two clear penalties, we could have won with a comfortable margin at the end of the day. Teams must win based on good football at the end.
“Moving forward we played a good side just like we expected. Going into the match we had a bit of information about them. They have a very good team, dangerous on the counter but other than that we controlled the game.
“Our players played a very good game, an eye catching performance. At the end of the day we were impressed taking into account the fact that we had gone for a break for five months. So if you can get such a result you can only see a brighter and brighter future,” said Mlauzi.
The team will remain in camp ahead of the second leg and Mlauzi said they are also considering the African qualifiers as part of their preparations for the Olympic Games set for August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“We are continuing with camp. We have in mind the fact that we are using the games as part of our preparations for the Olympics. So in an effective cycle of training will be a competitive game, which will go a long way in assisting us in areas we want to work on.
“With the girls some of them train once a week or twice, so they tend to forget most of the aspects we would have worked on, so we would want to have them for a long period in camp.
“Tomorrow (today) we are back to serious business after giving the girls some rest today (yesterday),” said Mlauzi.
Mlauzi called back most of the players that were in the provisional squad that camped in Bulawayo before the Tanzania game dropping five players from the list — midfielders Nomazulu Tshuma Sifundile Moyo and Aldiglade Bhamu as well as defender Prisca Khumalo and striker Tonderai Masango.
Of the notable changes into the squad is defender Ruvimbo Mutyavaviri who is making a comeback to the team. She last played for the Mighty Warriors in 2014 during the Africa Women Championships qualifiers now the Africa Women Cup of Nations due to a knee injury.
“We have another two weeks to prepare so we are thinking of a bigger picture. We want competition in our team, no matter you were in the team we have made it clear to the girls if you are not performing you will be dropped. “We have dropped five from the initial list we had and called in five new players.
“We are Olympians, so each time we go out there we want to impose ourselves, we want to win. We want to qualify for another major football tournament that’s the target we have given to the team and our target as the technical team.
“We really want to work flat out so that we continue rising on the African rankings,” said Mlauzi. Zimbabwe will meet either Zambia or Namibia in the final qualification round. Zambia beat Namibia 3-1 in their first leg played yesterday at Nkoloma Stadium.
Goalkeepers: Chido Dzingirai (Flame Lily), Lindiwe Magwede (Cyclone Stars), Vanessa Lunga (Black Rhinos), Shebba Rauli (Auckland).
Defenders: Nobuhle Majika (Inline Academy), Sheila Makoto (Blue Swallows), Eunice Chibanda, Lynett Mutokuto, Patience Mujuru, Rufaro Machingura (all Black Rhinos), Nobukhosi Ncube (New Orleans), Sarudzai Chikowore (Conduit), Ruvimbo Mutyavaviri (Mufakose).
Midfielders: Emmaculate Msipa, Talent Mandaza, Viola Ndlovu, Daisy Kaitano (all Black Rhinos), Rejoice Kapfumvuti (Inline Academy), Felistas Muzongondi (Mwenezana), Marjory Nyaumwe (Flame Lily), Greater Bhande (Cyclone Stars),Mavis Chirandu (Weerams), Peacemore Kenende (New Orleans).
Strikers: Rudo Neshamba (Weerams), Erina Jeke (Flame Lily), Maud Mafurutse (Faithdrive), Priviledge Mupeti (Inline Academy), Samkelisiwe Zulu (all Flame Lily), Sibonginkosi Nleya (Chapungu), Kudakwashe Bhasopo (Black Rhinos).