By Godknows Matarutse
Spain-based Zimbabwe senior women’s striker Rutendo “Madzimai” Makore has been ruled out of the 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon) qualifier against Namibia due to an ankle injury.
Makore, who plies her trade for Spanish side Sporting de Huelva, was dropped from the final squad announced by coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda yesterday.
The ankle injury forced the 25-year-old burly forward to miss her team’s 3-0 victory over Madrid on Sunday.
The Mighty Warriors will travel to Windhoek for the first leg of the first round on Thursday at the Sam Nujoma Stadium before the return leg a week later in Harare at Rufaro Stadium.
Awcon 2018 finals will be held in Ghana from November 17, to December 1, with the top three finishers automatically qualifying for the 2019 Women’s World Cup, scheduled for France.
Makore was supposed to connect directly from her base in Spain to Windhoek for the match but has since been ruled out.
“We have been communicating with her team and it appears she will not make it for this match. We are still not yet aware if she can it make for the return leg,” Sibanda said to the Daily News yesterday.
“She is a vital member of the group and there is no doubt that we will miss her. I think her absence should be an opportunity for others to shine. We have a number of good players who I think can step in to fill the gap.”
In coming up with her squad, Sibanda stuck with the majority of the players who have been doing duty lately for the Mighty Warriors while roping in some few new faces.
Experienced returning trio of Emmaculate Msipa, Mavis Chirandu and Felistas Muzongondi all made it into the squad having missed the Cosafa Women’s Championships held in Bulawayo last year.
Other notable names include Talent Mandaza, who will captain the side as well as Maudy Mafuruse, who had a six-month trial stint in Iceland last year.
Also to make it into the final squad include Susan Nyama, Vimbai Mharadzi and Erina Jeke.
Edline Mutumbami, Nobuhle Majika, Sheila Makoto, Nobukhosi Ncube and Lynett Mutokuto are also in contention for places.
And having been in camp for the past two weeks Sibanda is confident of a positive result in Namibia.
“Since there has been no league football since September 2017, the girls are not 100 percent fit, but as the technical team we are happy with their gradual progress,” Sibanda said.
The winner of the two-legged qualifier will meet either Zambia or Tanzania in the second and final round of qualifiers.
Goalkeepers: Chido Dzingirai (Correctional Queens), Manyara Mandara (Mwenezana Queens)
Defenders: Nobuhle Majika (Inline Academy), Nobukhosi Ncube (New Orleans Queens), Sheila Makoto (Blue Swallows Queens), Lynett Mutokuto (Black Rhinos Queens), Edline Mutumbami (Blue Swallows Queens),
Midfielders: Talent Mandaza (Black Rhinos Queens), Daisy Kaitano (Black Rhinos Queens), Marjory Nyaumwe (Correctional Queens), Emmaculate Msipa (Black Rhinos Queens), Mavis Chirandu (Black Rhinos Queens). Felistas Muzongondi (Black Rhinos Queens), Berita Kabwe (Correctional Queens)
Strikers: Maudy Mafuruse (Faith Drive Queens), Susan Nyama (Herentals Queens), Erina Jeke (Correctional Queens), Vimbai Mharadzi (Blue Swallows Queens)