MIGHTY Warriors host Botswana in the African Women Championships (ACW) first round second leg qualifier at Rufaro this afternoon, but coach Rosemary Mugadza is already looking beyond this fixture.
Zimbabwe carries a slender 0-1 lead going into the match after their victory in Gaborone a fortnight ago. Mugadza does not believe the visitors are capable of overturning that deficit.
In fact, she says her team will finish off the Lady Zebras and set a date with either Zambia or Tanzania in the second and final qualifying round for the ACW finals to be held in Namibia this October.
The Mighty Warriors did not break camp since returning from Botswana preparing for the final battle.
“We are ready for the match. The players want to go through to the second round and I don’t see Botswana stopping us,” said Mugadza.
“We have prepared well and in terms of quality on the field, I think we are way better than them so we should be able to progress to the next round. We respect them as our opponents but I don’t think they can give us many problems,” she added.
If Zimbabwe progress as largely expected, they will likely meet Zambia who beat Tanzania 2-1 in Lusaka a fortnight ago. The two teams square off for the decisive match in Dar-es Salam today.
“We are prepared to meet whoever wins that match. Our target is to qualify for the finals and it’s very achievable. We have a very good record against those teams and I am hoping it will continue.”
The last time the Mighty Warriors met Zambia last year, in Lusaka, Mugadza’s ladies won 4-1. Against Tanzania, in Dar-es Salam two years back, the Mighty Warriors won 5-0.
Mugadza welcomed back into the team strikers Rutendo Makore and Erina Jeke from injury. “I don’t have any injury worry. All the 25 players in camp are available for selection.”
Makore and Jeke will battle for places in the team with Violet Bepete, the scorer of the precious away goal in Gaborone, Rudo Neshamba, Kuda Bhasopo and Talent Mbepo all being available.
Mugadza said two strikers would be dropped from the list when the final 18 is announced this morning. The African Women Championships finals, the women version of the men’s Africa Cup of Nations, also serve as a qualification tournament for the 2015 Canada Fifa Women’s World Cup, with the top three teams going through.
Botswana arrived in the country on Wednesday ahead of the tie. Just like in the first leg match, they will be without star striker Thuto Ramafifi due to an injury.
Zifa yesterday announced the gate charges for the match with the cheapest ticket pegged at US$1, and US$3 for the Upper Grand Stands while a VIP ticket cost US$10.
National supporters’ liaison officer Simeone Jamanda encouraged supporters to go and support the team.
“The spirit of support shown by the nation in supporting the Warriors in Cape Town must be displayed to the girl child as well. We all have to be proud of our girls as this is a very crucial qualifier. We are grateful to women football for charging low rates for the match and I am calling on the supporters to go out in our numbers and support the girls,” said Jamanda.