Mighty Warriors troop into camp
THE Mighty Warriors trooped into camp yesterday ahead of the COSAFA Women’s Championships in South Africa next month.
Zimbabwe are in Group C alongside Namibia and Botswana.
Zimbabwe have won the regional tournament only once, in 2011 while players have not won individual accolades since 2017.
The Mighty Warriors last won awards in 2017 when Rutendo “Madzimai” Makore got the Golden Boot winner and veteran goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai won the Golden Glove.
The duo helped Zimbabwe reach the final they played at home but unfortunately lost 2-1 to rivals South Africa at Barbourfields.
The Black Rhinos Queens forward is not part of the 25-member squad that went into camp yesterday at Padhari Lodge and scheduled to begin training today.
But Dzingirai is part of the team in the goalkeeping department that also has Cynthia Shonga (Harare City Queens Cynthia Shonga and Herentals Queens Lindiwe Magwede.
The COSAFA tournament begins next week on Thursday in Gauteng province.
The Mighty Warriors first match is on October 6 against Lesotho. The COSAFA Championships gets underway with a Group A clash between Madagascar and Eswatini next Wednesday and hosts South Africa will then take on Malawi in a later kick off.
Group B starts the following day when Angola take on Comoros and defending champions Zambia meet Mozambique in an afternoon kick-off.
According to fixtures released by the organisers COSAFA, the winners of Group A will play the best runner-up across the three pools, while the top two teams from Group B and Group C meet in the other semi-final.
The third-place playoffs and the final will be played on October 15.
Mighty Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi who has combined experienced players and youthful players said he is building a squad for the future.
“We are not building a squad to just win a Cup but build a squad with longevity and we have considered strategic planning, short term, middle to long term plans of the team.
“We considered a handful of players. We can build around them. The most important thing is to continuously build a broader player base.
“We are aware that there are whispers in the football corridors that we overlooked some foreign-based players. People don’t understand football dynamics that it is a regional tournament which is not on FIFA calendar,” said Mlauzi.
The coach has included among the veterans last year’s skipper Emmaculate Msipa, Rudo Neshamba, Magwede and Dzingirai.
He also included consistent players such as Black Rhinos Privilege Mupeti and Daisy Kaitano. The coach has picked a number of rookie players. 17-year-old FaithDrive midfielder Bethel Kondo who picked an injury during the weekend’s league matches has since replaced by her teammate Alice Moyo.