By Grace Chingoma
Zimbabwe Under-17 women 3-2 Comoros Under-17 women.The Zimbabwe Under-17 women’s national football team saved themselves the blushes at the Cosafa Championships yesterday when they scored three second-half goals to beat Comoros at The Oval Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
The Young Mighty Warriors, who trailed 2-0 at half-time, dug deeper in the second period and were on target in the 78th, 82nd and 94th minutes to win their first match at the regional tournament.
The tournament is running concurrently with the senior team at the Nelson Mandela Bay. And, today their senior team, the Mighty Warriors, need such a huge fighting spirit when they take on Botswana in a Group C decider.
The Mighty Warriors need to win with two clear goals to progress to the semi-finals.
But the Young Mighty Warriors, who were hammered 7-0 last Friday by hosts South Africa in their first match at the tournament, found a way back to winning ways.
The script had appeared to continue yesterday after Zimbabwe conceded in the fourth minute. They had a goal ruled out for off-side and had a penalty saved in the 45th minute.
Zimbabwe were awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time of the first half, but midfielder Bethel Kondo shot straight at the Comoros keeper Ben Ali Said.
But the Zimbabweans, playing in their first Under-17 Women’s’ Cosafa tournament, pulled one back after defender Morelife Nyagumbo rifled home a shot from the edge of the box to beat Comoros keeper with 12 minutes remaining.
Zimbabwe equalised in the 82nd after midfielder Ropafadzo Maferefa, who had missed before finally got it right, heading into the nets to hit the back of the roof.
The Young Mighty Warriors were smelling victory and coach Annie Konje’s tactical change in the 68th minute paid off. Substitute Brenda Ndarowa repaid the coach’s confidence with an added time match winner that broke the hearts of the islanders.
The Young Mighty Warriors meet East Africans guest Tanzania tomorrow before they complete their round-robin matches with a date against Zambia on Thursday.
The two teams that finish top will proceed to the final this Saturday.
Meanwhile, Mighty Warriors coach Sithetheliwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda says they have been working on the poor finishing which was their biggest let down in the 0-1 defeat to Tanzania in the Group C opener.
The group was thrown wide open on Saturday following Botswana’s 1-0 victory over the Tanzanians.
The Mighty Warriors, who are still to taste victory in the three-team group, just need to win by at least two goals without conceding to finish top in the group and proceed to the last four. The best runners-up from the three groups make the fourth team in the next round.
“The group is still very much open, so if we only can manage to defend well, create chances and utilise them by scoring.
“In as much as we don’t have pressure as a team, we are looking at it as a must-win game. In the match versus Tanzania we missed chances, so we have been addressing finishing at goals in our training sessions so we hope we can get better tomorrow.
“First game we created chances but we didn’t utilise, so our emphasis was a lot on finishing,” said Sibanda.
Zimbabwe Under-17: Timmly Kavhura, Lucia Chisvo, Tinotenda Taurai (Elise Moyo, 78th minute), Tanyaradzwa Chihoro, Morelife Nyagumbo, Bethel Kondo, Rudo Machadu, Ropafadzo Maferefa, Thando Sibanda (Brenda Ndarowa, 64th minute), Priscilla Marikosi, Melinda Mapasure.
Comoros: Ben Ali Said Amina, Kadafi Naima, Nadjima Youssouf, Issouffi Nilmat, Mohamed Dalila, Ahamed Nourouzamane, Noussrat Mistoihi, Mohamed Chaharizade, Said Ali Hauodhoiti, Saoudata Rachid Athmoumane, Moinahedji Mohamed. The Chronicle.