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Might Warriors crash out of Awcon despite a win

by Staff reporter
24 Feb 2022 at 05:38hrs | Views
Botswana 0 - 2 Zimbabwe
(The match ended 3-3 on aggregate but Botswana qualify on away goals rule)

THE Zimbabwe senior national women's football team failed to qualify for the Africa Women Cup of Nations despite winning 2 – 0 against Botswana at the Obed Itani Chiume Stadium in Francistown last night.

But it was a case of too little, too late for the Mighty Warriors who needed one more goal to overturn a 1-3 deficit they suffered in the first leg at National Sports Stadium on Friday.

And Mighty Warriors coach Sithetheliwe "Kwinji 15" Sibanda and her troops will look hard into that defeat, which cost them a place at the AWCON finals in Morocco in July. Zimbabwean skipper Emmaculate Msipa got the opener in the 66th minute  when she headed off a Rudo Neshamba cross.

Four minutes later, Black Rhinos Queens Privilege Mupeti added another goal when she did justice to Marjoury Nyaumwe cross.

The introduction of Neshamba in the second period gave the team a fresh impetus.

Although, Zimbabwe gave a spirited perfomance yesterday against the neighbours who had many  supporters rallying behind them in the stadium as they made history by qualifying for their first-ever AWCON finals, at the end it was not enough to secure a ticket to Morroco.

Going into this match, the Batswana side was walking with a spring in their step after receiving tremendous support from their Government as well as their First Lady.

Even before sealing their qualification yesterday, Botswana had finalised a training camp in Europe after arranging a tour of Slovakia. They are set to depart in the coming weeks to prepare for the finals that are four months away.

Zimbabwe made life tough for themselves when they failed to utilise their home advantage, which is important in these games. It was always going to be a tall order to try and score many goals in their opponent's backyard.

This is the second consecutive time that Zimbabwe will not be part of the show at the Women's Nations Cup due to away goals rule. In 2018, the Mighty Warriors were denied a chance by Zambia after the two neighbours drew 2-2 and She-polopolo progressed on away goal rules. Zimbabwe had beaten the Zambians 0-1 in their backyard. But the Mighty Warriors conspired to disappoint at Rufaro when they  let Zambia come from behind to score two goals in the second half.

The visitors won the match 2-1 and advanced to finals that were played in Ghana. The AWCON tournament was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The qualifiers for the 2022 edition started  last year with two rounds of matches, and Zimbabwe beat Eswatini 6-1 on aggregate to set up the last round clash with Botswana.

Mighty Warriors coach made five changes to the team that lost 1-3 against the Mares at the National Sports Stadium on Friday.

Harare City Queens goalkeeper Cynthia Shonga was in goals, replacing Herentals keeper Lindiwe Magwede, who was dropped from the team that travelled aboard a charter flight to Francistown on Monday.

Teams

Zimbabwe: Cynthia Shonga, Nokubhosi Ncube, Vimbai Mharadzi, Danai Bhobho, Egness Tumbare, Edeline Mutumbami, Emmaculate Msipa, Marjoury Nyaumwe, Mavis Chirandu (C. Katona), Privilege Mupeti, Rutendo Makore (Rudo Neshamba).

Botswana: Lesego Moeng, Masego  Monthsho, Kesegofetse Mochawe, Bonang Otlhagile, Golebaone  Selebatso, Lone Gaofetoge, Lesego Radiakanyo, Kefilwe Tholakele, Keitumetse Dithebe, Thando Mokgabo.

Source - The Herald