The Premier Soccer League season might have ended last weekend but soccer lovers will have another treat of a high profile match when the Zimbabwe women national team, the Mighty Warriors lock horns with their South African counterparts Banyana Banyana in a Unity Cup Challenge at Rufaro Stadium this afternoon.
This will be the second game by the Zimbabwe women national side, after returning into the international fold after a 4 – 0 whacking at the hands of the same opposition in a friendly match played at Makhulong Stadium, South Africa in October.
Revenge will be foremost for the hosts as they try to earn their former respectable status. Winners of the challenge match will walk away US$15 000 richer while losers will get a US$10 000 consolation, a good ingredient for the contest.
The Mighty Warriors, once a vibrant team that participated at the 2002 Cosafa tournament where they lost to South Africa in the final and also played at the All-Africa Games had disappeared into oblivion only to be resuscitated by the coming in of Mavis Gumbo into the Zifa board.Team manager Charity Munemo said they had adequately prepared for the game and promised the South Africans a tough match.
“Banyana are a good side, no doubt about that but we will not lie down and expect some favours from them,” said Munemo.
“It’s a friendly match but they have their own reputation to protect and they will want to win the match at any cost. We will give them a tough match though. We prepared well, and I don’t see us losing this match.”
Munemo said this was the chance for the Mighty Warriors to get recognition on the international stage.
“Beating a good side like Banyana will not just get us our confidence back but it will give us recognition in the international scene. We have to reclaim our status as one of the most feared team in the Southern Region and Africa.”
The team will have to do without first team players, goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai who came back into the country yesterday from Swaziland. Dzingirai was part of the Young Mighty Warriors team that brought home gold from the recently ended Zone Six games.
Munemo said the team had enough cover and said goalkeeper Onai Chingau would guard the post for the Mighty Warriors today. Veteran striker Nomsa “Boyz” Moyo who is also the team captain, will be expected to lead from the front while speed merchant Nokuthula Ndlovu will have to use her pace for good effect.
Banyana have promised the hosts a very tough match as they are using it as a preparatory match for the upcoming 2011 London Olympic qualifying games.
The 2010 Caf Women Championship bronze medalist brought in a strong squad for the match.
Players to watch out for in the Banyana squad include Safa women player of the year Janine van Wyke, Russia-based attacking midfielder Nompumelelo Nyandeni and their chief striker Noko Matlou, who is the reigning Caf African Women’s Player of the Year.
The Mighty Warriors received a timely boost on Monday evening ahead of the women version of the “Battle of Limpopo” after the business community and companies donated more than US$14 000 and a training kit at a fundraising dinner held at a local hotel.