By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Veteran striker Rutendo Makore was a pale shadow of her usual aggressive self as the Mighty Warriors got off to a false start, losing 0,1 to East African guest nation Tanzania at the ongoing Cosafa Women’s Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay last night.
The usually reliable Mako re, whose talents saw her getting a contract in Spain, was used as a lone striker by coach Sithethelelwe Kwinji 15 Sibanda, probably because of her known aggressive and bustling nature but she sadly failed to come to the party and even when in possession, she would deliver stray passes which completely distabilised the team.
Tanzania took the lead exactly an hour into the encounter through Kadosho Shekigenda who headed home from a corner as the Mighty Warriors defence stood akimbo.
The afternoon turned into a horror show for the Mighty Warriors when skipper Emmaculate Msipa received her marching orders for a second yellow card and they had to finish the game with 10 players and 16 minutes still on the clock.
It was the first red card of the tournament and will keep her out of their next fixture.
Meanwhile, Cosafa.com reports that Tanzania got their Cosafa Women’s Under-17 Championship campaign off to a strong start as they defeated Comoros Islands 5-1.
Aisha Masaka bagged a brace, including the opener, while Mwanamvua Haruna, Joyce Lema and Protasia Mbunda were also on target. Noussrat Mistoihi had equalised for Comoros from the penalty-spot in the first half.
Zambia defeated South Africa 2-1 in their opener, with Cindy Banda claiming the winner a minute from time as she scrambled the ball into the back of the net.
The home side took the lead just past the hour-mark when substitute Nabeelah Galant squeezed the ball under the Zambia goalkeeper Chitete Munsaka, who might have felt she should do better to keep out the effort.
But the lead lasted just a few minutes as a goal-mouth scramble after the ball had come back off the crossbar was turned home by Taonga Chulu. It was the second time Zambia had hit the woodwork as the home side rode their luck a little.
Today is a rest day in both competitions, but action resumes tomorrow as Group A swings back into action. Comoros Islands and Angola both lost their openers and will be desperate to get points to boost their semifinal hopes.
Comoros went down 4-2 to Eswatini, while Angola were beaten 2-0 by South Africa, but promised a stronger performance in their second game. The loser of this contest will have very little chance of advancing.
Defending champions South Africa will want to improve on their showing in the first game.
The games will also return in the Cosafa Women’s Under-17 Championship, where Zambia will take on Tanzania and Zimbabwe make their bow at this level against South Africa.
Zimbabwe were missing from the inaugural competition that was played in Mauritius last year.
Cosafa women’s championship statistics
Zambia 8 (Banda 29’, 52’, 70’, Chilufya 56’, Maylan Mulenga 64’, Chanda 66’, 76’, Lungu 84’) Lesotho 0
Zimbabwe 0 Tanzania 1 (Shekigenda 61’)
12h30 – Comoros vs Angola
15h30 – Eswatini vs South Africa. The Chronicle.