Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter
Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(3) 3
Ewatini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
MIGHTY WARRIORS coach, Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15’’ Sibanda has rallied her charges to finish off the job and leap into the next round of the Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers.
They laid the foundation with a 3-1 win over Eswatini, at the National Sports Stadium, yesterday.
“It is a safe score line, remember if we go there, we go with a different strategy,’’ Sibanda said.
“Obviously, we know we managed to score three, we can even score as many as we scored today, so, it is a good lead.”
Marjory Nyaumwe opened the scoring for the Mighty Warriors in the sixth minute when Eswatini goalkeeper, Sukoluhle Sibandze, punched the ball back into play from a free kick taken by Nobukhosi Ncube.
In the 16th minute, Priviledge Mupeti doubled the lead before Eswatini replied through Lesego Mokgale in the 42nd minute.
The Mighty Warriors were caught napping after a communication breakdown, between the ‘keeper and the defenders.
Captain Emmaculate Msipa then sealed the victory in the 45th minute.
“As a team, we managed to dominate possession, circulate the ball as much as possible, which is what we really wanted to do,’’ said Sibanda. “And, it did pay off with us getting goals in the first half.
“I think, a great second half again, in terms of ball rotation and crosses.
“But, I think credit to Eswatini, for the good defending, especially in the second half.
“And, as for us, that’s one of the areas where we really need to improve, finishing those crosses, because we managed to dominate possession but our final touch, wasn’t really good.
“But, I think it was a great game, the players put much into it and, at least, we managed to get a win out of it.’’
Eswatini coach, Dumisani Makhanya, was satisfied with the way his side played, despite the defeat.
“We missed one, and we scored another one, meaning we were regrouping, trying to make them uncomfortable.
“During the second half, we knew they will still come and search for some goals but we tried to defend nicely and collectively and, otherwise, let me congratulate Zimbabwe for a win.
“My players showed a lot of character, it’s not easy to come back from 2-0, but they tried to come back and I think I am happy with the performance of the team,” said Makhanya.
The two teams meet, in the second leg next Tuesday, in Mbabane.
The winner between Zimbabwe and Eswatini takes on the winner, between Angola and Botswana, in the last qualifying round.
Yesterday’s match was graced by Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, and her deputy Tino Machakaire.
Zimbabwe: L. Magwede, E. Mutumbami, E. Tumbare, E. Msipa, N. Ncube, M. Nyaumwe, P. Mupeti (A. Moyo, 59th min), M. Mafuruse (D. Banda, 86th min), S. Dambamuromo (P. Mugayi, 71st min), S. Makoto, R. Neshamba.
Eswatini: S. Sibandze, T. Ngcamphalala, T. Dvuba, C. Nkambule, N. Malinga (P. Dhlamini, 30th min), L. Mokgale, N. Dhlamini, W. Ndwandwe, D. Kwanele (M. Dube, 60th min), S. Sikhondze, S. Magagula (N. Sanga, 57th min).