By Ellina Mhlanga
The Mighty Warriors are set to return to action this weekend when they take on Mozambique in a friendly match in Beira. Coach Sithethelelwe Sibanda is taking advantage of the game to try new combinations ahead of the Cosafa Women’s Championships next month.
Sibanda named an 18-member squad made up of the regular and fringe players who have been hovering at the edge of selection.The senior women side’s last match was in June against Zambia during the Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers at Rufaro.
Zimbabwe were invited by the Mozambique Football Federation for the friendly match scheduled for Saturday on the inauguration of a new stadium, Estadio Municipal De Beira.
Zifa competitions and communication manager, Xolisani Gwesela, said the team was set to leave for Mozambique today.
“We have been invited by the Mozambique Football Federation for the inauguration of a new stadium. in Beira. They are leaving tomorrow, they are travelling by road. The game is on the 18th. They are reporting for camp today (yesterday) at Zifa Village,” said Gwesela.
Gwesela said with the Cosafa Women’s Championship around the corner, the match gives the technical team a chance to assess new players.
This year’s edition will be hosted by South Africa from September 12 to 23 and yesterday was the deadline for member associations to confirm their participation.
“It’s more of a practice game this one. It means that the more they participate in such encounters the more they are likely to improve their performance, the coach is able to assess new players. So this game will also assist the coach to prepare for the tournament,” said Gwesela.
Zimbabwe were the losing finalists last year when they hosted the championships in Bulawayo, going down 1-2 to South Africa in the final. Mozambique bowed out in the group stages. Sibanda said they will use the match to expose some of their fringe players.
The likes of midfielders Kudzai Chiparausha and Rumbidzai Zhoya are among the players that have been called into camp before. Concilia Madotsa and Evermore Mutandwa are some of the new faces.
“It was organised in a hurry, we just thought let’s use it to give other fringe players the exposure, like how they cope at that level. We are just going to use it to expose some of our players.”
“There are some players that have done well during our training but we have not given them exposure in terms of the game time because in football there are some players that are good at training but they struggle in matches. So that’s what we want to see.”
“We are not going to put ourselves under pressure and that’s why we have maybe half of the squad being regulars and the other half being fringe players we want to expose.
“Previously, from what I have seen, they (Mozambique) are a very good team, one cannot take anything away from them.
“These days you cannot underrate any team, a lot of countries are putting resources in developing their teams, so we are not going to be complacent,” said Sibanda. Sibanda said they were ready for the Cosafa Championships. The Chronicle
Goalkeepers: Shebba Rauli (Auckland)Chido Dzingirai (Correctional)
Defenders: Nobuhle Majika (MSU), Nobukhosi Ncube (Correctional), Sheila Makoto (Blue Swallows), Danai Bhobho, Sarudzai Chikowore (Harare City), Sithembile Nyoni (Weerams).
Midfielders: Marjory Nyaumwe (Correctional), Mavis Chirandu (Black Rhinos), Kudzai Chiparausha (Blue Swallows), Elizabeth Bvunzawabaya (Cyclone), Rumbidzai Zhoya (Auckland), Evermore Mutandwa (Weerams).
Strikers: Erina Jeke (Correctional), Maudy Mafuruse (Faith Drive), Tafadzwa Tsunguro (ZRP Queens), Concilia Madotsa (Faith Drive).