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Mighty Warriors top striker Rutendo Makore scored an important away goal to get her side closer to qualification for the Africa Women Cup of Nations after they beat Zambia in the first leg of the final qualifying round at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka yesterday.
Yesterday’s victory over their bitter arch-rivals put them in a good position ahead of the second leg at Rufaro on Sunday.
Makore, who just bounced back into the national team after missing the tie against Namibia due to an injury, was on target in the 18th minute when she tapped Berita Kabwe’s cross home. The winner from the two-legged tie earns the ticket to the continental tournament set for November 17 to December 1 in Ghana. For the Mighty Warriors and Zambia’s Shepolopolo it’s been an interesting scenario as this is the third time they are clashing at the same stage.
They first met in 2014 and Zambia emerged winners to qualify for the continental showpiece before Zimbabwe returned a better side in 2016 to edge their rivals and booked their place at the tournament hosted by Cameroon.
With a favourable result from Zambia yesterday, it appears the Mighty Warriors are on track to repeat the same feat after snatching an away win yesterday in Lusaka.
Going into the match, coach Sithethelelwe Sibanda, made it clear they needed to avoid conceding and they did just that.
Speaking from Zambia, Sibanda said she was pleased with the results but pointed out that there are some areas they need to polish up before the reverse fixture.
“It’s good that we managed to get an away goal and avoided conceding. We did well in maintaining the tactical defensive shape, though we struggled in other areas like reaction to the second ball.
“We want to address the weaknesses we saw and try and play our game and let them react to our game plan,” said Sibanda.
She also hailed their opponents for giving them a good run.
“Zambia played very well. We survived many attacks from them owing to their good organisation defensively,” Snda said.
The Mighty Warriors are expected back home today where they will get down to business in preparation for Sunday’s game.
Zambia: H. Nali, M. Belemu, L. Chisamu, A. Mulenga, M. Tembo, P. Chilufya, M. Mwakapila, R. Chileshe, M. Zulu, B. Banda, R. Kundananji.
Zimbabwe: C. Dzingirai, N. Majika, L. Mutokuto, S. Makoto, N. Ncube, T. Mandaza, E. Msipa (E. Jeke 71mins), M. Nyaumwe, F. Muzongondi, R. Makore, B. Kabwe (M. Chirandu 61mins). The Herald