Zifa engage Sweden, NZ for Olympic friendlies
Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
ZIFA have engaged Sweden to play the Mighty Warriors as part of the build-up to their maiden appearance at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August.
The Mighty Warriors, who have also received an invitation for a friendly match against New Zealand, are looking at playing the Swedes in Brazil just before the start of the soccer tournament at the world’s biggest sporting showcase.
ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela yesterday said they were negotiating with New Zealand and Sweden for friendly matches just before the competition kicks off after receiving invitations from the two countries.
“We can confirm that we got an invitation for a friendly match from the New Zealand senior team and we have since written to them advising them that we are working on the logistics and necessary arrangements for that match.
“No dates have been proposed so far. We also received another invitation from Sweden. We are still in discussions with these teams.
“We are willing to play both Sweden and New Zealand so that our women are adequately prepared,” said Gwesela, who added that the team is expected to get into camp to prepare for the global showcase early next month.
“The team is getting into camp early May. We will provide the details in due course,” said Gwesela.
The Mighty Warriors have also qualified for the finals of the Africa Women Cup of Nations after beating Tanzania and Zambia. They will join six other qualifiers and hosts Cameroon between November and December.
However, their immediate task is the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro with the football competition set to run from August 3 to August 20.
Zimbabwe are in Group F with two-time World Cup winners Germany, Australia and Canada.
Germany are ranked number two while Australia are number five and Canada occupies 10th position on the World Rankings. Zimbabwe is on position 95.
The Mighty Warriors’ first game is against Germany on August 3 in Sao Paulo. They will then take on Canada on August 6 and the final group tie is against Australia on August 9.
The ZIFA spokesperson said they are also hoping for more friendly matches with other countries.
“We want to expose them to a number of these encounters so that they are prepared adequately. We are in a group with global powerhouses.
“We will provide more information on their roadmap, how they are going to prepare and which teams they are going to play in due course,” Gwesela said.