By Innocent Kurira
Zimbabwe has failed to progress to the next round of the Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup qualifiers after going down 0-2 to Botswana in the second-leg encounter at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
The Young Mighty Warriors had been hammered 5-0 in Gaborone two weeks ago and needed a miracle to overturn the result.
Things started brightly for the hosts, who dominated play from the first whistle to the last. They, however, failed to turn their dominance into goals and were duly punished by the visitors.
Second half goals by Peggy Manewa and Christinah Monyatsi gave the Batswana a 7-0 aggregate score to progress to the next round of qualifiers.
Manewa found the target in the 58th minute after capitalising on a defensive lapse from the Young Mighty Warriors’ backline to slot home with ease. Monyatsi doubled the lead with six minutes to fulltime.
The Young Mighty Warriors’ attack of Melody Chikore, Thando Sibanda and Praynence Zvawanda wasted a flurry of chances to get the hosts on the score sheet.
The visitors had few chances in the first stanza and Manewa had the best opportunity but her effort from a header crushed against the crossbar.
Just as they had done in the first stanza, Zimbabwe dominated play in the second-half but could not find the back of the net.
The likes of Chikore and substitute Rufaro Maphosa gave the sizable crowd some entertainment with exciting skills on the ball.
“We started well though we failed to execute our plans from training. In the second half we tried to play our passing game but still we could not breach the visitors. It was not our day. This is our first time as a country to have the Under-17 team. What we need to do now is to make sure that we keep these girls together so that they grow together and become a force to reckon with,” said Zimbabwe coach Langton Giwa.
Visiting coach Tapaphilwa Gaebolae said Zimbabwe had improved from the performance they showed in the first-leg.
“It was a tough game and that is what l expected when we came here. They have improved compared to the first-leg. It was a different ball game today and it was a really tough game compared to the game in Gaborone,” said Gaebolae.
Zimbabwe: Tariro Chirume, Praynence Zvawanda, Nokukhanya Ndlovu, Martia Nyanhete (Rufaro Maphosa 48th min), Lucia Chisvo (Tinotenda Taurai 63rd min), Priscilla Marikosi (Cathrene Gwangwara 48th min), Melody Chikore, Thando Sibanda, Lebhukani Dongo, Lauryn Mupasi, Elice Moyo
Botswana: Katso Gaorelathe, Lerato Motlogelwa, Lone Kgalaeng, Pearl Sikwane, Yaone Modise (Keamogetse Maano 84th min) , Desiree Kenyaditswe, Neonyana Jautse (Christinah Monyatsi 47th min), Precious Tlhapi, Peggy Manewa, Keitumetse Thomas, Serati Modisenyane (Dimpo Sedirwa 61st min). The Chronicle