Grace Chingoma, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe women’s Under-20 national football team secured a crucial away point when they managed a 1-1 draw against Malawi in a World Cup preliminary round, first leg tie at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Saturday afternoon.
Although Rosemary Mugadza’s charges conceded a late equaliser just three minutes before stoppage-time, the point picked up on the road will be very important ahead of the reverse tie at Barbourfields on February 1.
Zimbabwe and Faith Drive forward Shyline Dambamuromo headed in at the hour mark off a delivery from Harare City midfielder Valeria Packry.
But a determined Malawi made sure there is everything to play for when they travel to Bulawayo when striker Yamikani Mhango scored in the 87th after she connected a perfect pass from Gladys Banda in this fascinating match.
Zimbabwe Under- 20 coach Mugadza admitted that her troops slackened towards the end. “We were forced to play under pressure in the dying minutes and we ended up conceding a goal. I tell you that we would not repeat such a mistake in the return match back in Zimbabwe,” said Mugadza.
Malawi coach Maggie Chombo Sadiki was happy with the performance from her team which was assembled for the first time for this World Cup fixture.
“We wasted a lot of opportunities, especially in the first half. Nevertheless, it was well understood as this was their first time to play an international match at home,” she said.
The Young Mighty Warriors had lion’s share of first half possession but Malawi crawled their way back into the game after the break.
Going into this match, Mugadza had told his players to be cautious, especially in the first half and keep possession.
However, the veteran coach is likely to have a different game-plan when they host the Malawians side as the two teams’ battles for a place at the World Cup finals which would be held in Costa Rica and Panama in August.