Ngqwele Dube/Sikhumbuzo Moyo
ZIMBABWE face Malawi in a must-win encounter at Luveve Stadium this afternoon if they are to entertain any hopes of lifting the 2017 Cosafa Women’s Championships.
The Mighty Warriors top Group A and they have to maintain that position for them to qualify as the group winners but they would still be eligible to proceed if they end the group stages as the best runners up.
The table toppers of the three groups will qualify for the semi-finals together with the best runner up. Mighty Warriors coach, Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda (pictured) is not lost on the task at hand and is aware only a high scoring win will give them joy as Zambia is likely to “massacre” minnows Madagascar at the other Group A match that will be played at the same time at Barbourfields.
Speaking after the draw against Zambia on Friday, Kwinji said they are still in line to achieve their objective following their 1-1 draw against their northern neighbours. She said while she has not yet seen Malawi playing they would be going back to the drawing board with victory in mind.
“After getting a point from today’s game, we are on course to achieving our objective of reaching the final. It will be a different ball game when we face Malawi on Sunday but like other matches we have to prepare well and ensure that we deliver,” said Sibanda.
A goal difference of one separates Zambia and Zimbabwe at the top of Group A as both sides have four points going into today’s final group games. Malawi have showed they are not pushovers, having scored three against Zambia despite conceding six goals in their opening game.
On Friday they hit Madagascar for six although they also allowed three in. Zimbabwe’s defence will have to be at their best to thwart Malawi’s attack and ensure they win by a wide margin. Sibanda called on local supporters to come in their numbers and play the role of the 12th man in the decider.
Meanwhile, former Mighty Warriors striker Precious “Gringo” Mpala has called for total concentration and adherence to pre match tactics. In an interview from her base in South Africa, the former fiery forward, who made her national team debut back in 1999, said she had all the belief in the girls and that coach “Kwinji 15”, who she played together in the national team, has the technical pedigree to lead the nation to glory.
She also called on the fans to come in their numbers and rally behind the squad as they seek to lift their second Cosafa Championship title, having lifted their maiden title in 2011 when they beat South Africa 1-0 in Harare.
Cosafa Women’s Championship results from yesterday
Kenya 11-0 Mauritius, Lesotho 0-3 Botswana, Mozambique 2-2 Swaziland
Today: Zambia vs Madagascar (14h00), Namibia vs Lesotho (16h30) (Barbourfields Stadium) Zimbabwe vs Malawi (14h00), South Africa vs Botswana (16h30) (Luveve Stadium)