Zimbabwe: ‘Mighty Warriors Need to Be Offensive’

MIGHTY Warriors skipper Emmaculate Msipa says Zimbabwe will need to be more offensive in their quest to upstage Botswana in their own backyard when the teams meet tomorrow for the decisive leg of the Africa Women Cup of Nations.

The match will be played at Obed Itani Chilume stadium in Francistown.

Botswana carry a healthy 3-1 lead after they stunned Zimbabwe at the National Sports Stadium on Friday.

But Msipa is still confident that if they bring their "A" game tomorrow, they will beat the Mares, and qualify for the African Women Cup of Nations finals to be held in Morocco in July.

"We still have hope. They scored three goals and we scored one goal. We have been talking as players and we believe Botswana can be beaten.

"We need to be more offensive. They are not that fit but they were in camp for one-and-half months, and it worked in their favour. But if we put pressure on them, there is room they will make mistakes and we will capitalise on that.

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"We made some mistakes in the first game and handed them with gift goals, so we need to rectify that in Francistown," said Msipa.

However, it looks a tall order for Zimbabwe, who were not convincing at home and will this time be playing in front of potentially hostile fans in Francistown.

Unlike the Mighty Warriors who played in an empty stadium, Botswana have been allowed by CAF to let in a limited number of fully vaccinated supporters into the stadium tomorrow.

Botswana coach Gaolethoo "Ronaldo" Nkutlwisang was convinced the absence of the 12th man at the National Sports Stadium, was going to work in her favour, and she used the opportunity to her team's favour.

But tomorrow, the stadium will be filled with fans rooting for the hosts, something which the Zimbabweans might find intimidating as they chase the match on two fronts. The Mighty Warriors managed to train and rectify some of the defensive mistakes they made at home.

Their coach, Sithetheliwe "Kwinji 15" Sibanda, picked up an 18-member squad that travelled aboard a charter flight yesterday afternoon.

Herentals goalkeeper, Lindiwe Magwede, was the biggest casualty of Friday's disappointing defeat after she was dropped from the travelling party. The seasoned keeper and her defence made wrong calls on the afternoon and it backfired for Zimbabwe, who, before the game, had a superior head-to-head record against the Batswana side.

Apart from the dropped goalkeeper, there were no further changes to the squad.

The Government chartered a direct flight since there are few commercial flights to Francistown per week and it was difficult to get seats for the team. The Government, through the Sports Commission, stepped in to ensure smooth travel for the team.

Mighty Warriors squad

Goalkeepers: Cynthia Shonga (Harare City Queens), Precious Mudyiwa (Black Rhinos Queens).

Defenders: Nobukhosi Ncube (Correctional Queens), Egness Tumbare (Harare City Queens), Edeline Mutumbami, Vimbai Mharadzi (Blue Swallows Queens), Talent Mukwanda (Herentals Queens), Eunice Chibanda (Black Rhinos Queens).

Midfielders: Emma Msipa (Fatih Karagumrik Spor Kulubu, Turkey) Marjoury Nyaumwe (Correctional Queens), Mavis Chirandu, Priviledge Mupeti (Black Rhinos Queens), Danai Bhobho (Simba Queens, Tanzania), Berita Kabwe (River Angels, Nigeria).

Strikers: Rudo Neshamba (Ramat Hasharon WFC, Israel), Maudy Mafuruse (Faith Drive Queens), Rutendo Makore, Christabel Katona (Black Rhinos Queens).

Artmotion S.Africa

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