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World Cup expansion cheers Mighty Warriors

30 Jun, 2020 - 00:06 0 Views

The Herald

Grace Chingoma

Sports Reporter

ZIFA technical director, Wilson Mutekede, has welcomed the expansion of women’s FIFA World Cup to 32 teams as well as the launch of the CAF women Champions League.

Previously, 24 teams competed at the World Cup.

FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, said the success of last year’s World Cup in France inspired the increase in the number of participants.

The  2023 FIFA Women’’s World Cup would be hosted by Australia and New Zealand between July 10 and August 20.

CAF had three slots at the 2019 finals in France and will now get extra places.

“This is a very positive development, depending on the slots that would be allocated to Africa, we should fancy our chances,’’ said Mtekede.

“We are happy, as a nation, women football in Zimbabwe has been quite promising, as shown by our previous qualification for the Olympics in Rio.

“This gives us a good feeling that, if we work hard and prepare well, we will, obviously, try and push to qualify for the World Cup .

“The talk has been that if Zimbabwe were to qualify, the biggest chance would be through women.

“But, we also fancy our Warriors to qualify one day.’’

CAF instructor, and former Mighty Warriors coach and captain, Rosemary Mugadza, said this was a welcome development.

“The chance is there for the Mighty Warriors to qualify for the World Cup if the team has proper preparations, including playing more friendly matches, at least for the coaches to have the best team and right combinations,’’ said Mugadza.

“It’s good for women football in Zimbabwe because it will improve the standard of our football and, maybe, attract sponsorship for us women and improve livehoods of the players and technical teams.’’

Zimbabwe announced their arrival on the international scene when they competed at the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil four years ago.

But, after scaling those dizzy heights, the lack of support from the association, coupled with poor performances, saw them fail to qualify for the 2018 Africa Cup of Nations, which provided passage to last year’s World Cup.

However, FIFA and CAF support to women’s football might help turn around the fortunes of the local game.

From the US$1.5 million stimulus package, which ZIFA are set to receive from FIFA, US$500 000 is to be set aside for the women’s game.

Mutekede also hailed the launch of the CAF women Champions League.

“It is quite a welcome development. You are aware that at FIFA and CAF, in terms of women’s football, there has been so much work in developing the game of women in the world.

“It calls for us to really work hard and improve women’s football.’’

Mugadza added that CAF finally took heed of the plea from the federations.

“Having the women Champions League, it’s something that we have been lobbying for since 2016 during our CAF Instructors Courses and, finally, it is going to start,’’ she said.

“I am happy with the development and, thanks to CAF, because they want to see women football in the continent improve.’’

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