BY SINDISO DUBE
AFTER securing a point and an away goal against Malawi in a 2020 Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup preliminary round first leg match, coach Rosemary Mugadza is confident that her side will finish the job at home today.
The Young Mighty Warriors were seven minutes away from securing a crucial away win when the two teams met at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre a fortnight ago, but Malawi scored a late equaliser to leave the tie evenly balanced.
Shyline Dambamuromo scored the all-important away goal for Zimbabwe, before substitute Yamikani Mhango handed Malawi a lifeline with a 83rd minute equaliser.
Today’s match will be played at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo, with the hosts looking to make full use of the away goal.
Speaking at a Press conference after the team’s morning training session yesterday, Mugadza said she was hoping that her team would carry the momentum from the previous match.
“It’s not going to be an easy game as all the countries are improving on their game, but we are hoping that our ladies will do us good service tomorrow,” Mugadza said.
“We have been in camp since we left Malawi. We have prepared well and we hope that the players will apply themselves very well and do well like they did in Malawi,” the former Mighty Warriors coach said.
“They are very good, especially in the middle of the park. Their striker, who came in the second half and managed to equalise, is also good. Their defence has lanky players, so we are planning to bypass their midfield and use our strikers very well. But we need to remain compact in the middle of the park.”
The overall winner of this contest will book a first round place against either Burundi or Ethiopia. Ethiopia lead the contest 5-0 from the first leg.
Besides qualification to the next stage, the Young Mighty Warriors are desperate to win this match to atone for the disappointment by their young sisters, the Under-17 who were clobbered 7-0 on aggregate by Botswana in a Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup first round qualifier last month.
The Under-17 team lost 5-0 in Gaborone and were finished off at Barbourfields last week.
However, Mugadza picked some positives from the disappointing result.
“I don’t think the Under-17s performed very bad considering that it was their first time taking part in the qualifiers and also that Botswana participated in last year’s Cosafa tournament. Our girls just grouped for two weeks facing a team which had been in camp for two months,” she said.
“It is good that we now have an Under-17 team participating in such a major competition and we ask for support so that we keep all our age group teams taking part in such competitions. These teams feed in into other teams and eventually the senior team.”