Zimbabwe Women Football League boss, Mavis Gumbo, believes The Mighty Warriors will reach their former status as one of the most feared teams in Africa by the end of this year.
Women soccer has, for the past eight years, been languishing in football wilderness only to be resuscitated by the coming into office of Gumbo in March last year.
The Mighty Warriors became a household name in 2002 when they participated in the Cosafa tournament only to be beaten by neigbhours South Africa in the final. They also participated in the All-Africa Games that same year, but nothing has been heard of them since then.
However, Gumbo’s board has seen the ushering in of hope into women football and already, they have managed to organise two high-profile friendly matches against Banyana Banyana, who are ranked third in Africa.
The board also managed to send a women soccer Under-20 team to the Zone VI Youth Games held in Swaziland in December last year. The girls came back with a gold medal after humbling nemesis South Africa in the final.
Gumbo said she is positive that by end of this year, women’s football would have retained its former respectable face.
“We are very positive about that. We are working very hard as a team. Our goal is to have a very vibrant and competitive team by the end of year,” said Gumbo.
“We are in the right direction and if the girls’
performance during the two friendlies we had against South Africa is anything to go by, then we have a bright future ahead of us. Our golden girls, the Under-20 team, also won gold at the Zone VI Youth games in Swaziland which is a good sign that we are improving as a nation,” added Gumbo.
The new board has been working tirelessly to revive the sport and at the end of last year, unveiled a seven-member marketing committee to rebrand the sport.
During the team’s fundraising dinner held at a local hotel, the committee, led by businessman Chamu Chiwanza, managed to raise more than $14 000 and training kit for the women’s national team.
“We are grateful with the response from the corporate world but we are still appealing for more sponsorship. As women, we are a very good marketing tool for advertising products and I urge the corporate world to use our brand,” said Gumbo.
Gumbo said her board had rolled out a very ambitious programme which would see them running a national league, concurrent with the Premier Soccer League this year.
“We have no league at the moment so our plan is to have a national league which will run simultaneously with that of our male counterparts.
“We want to start the league this season and we hope that it will be a well-run league, we can have more good players in the national team.”
“We also want to have a coach in every province who will recruit and recommend players to the national team coach Rosemary Mugadza. We would also want the national team to camp, let’s say for four days every month,” added Gumbo.
Gumbo revealed that there were potential sponsors who had shown willingness to sponsor the Mighty Warriors and national women’s league.
She also showed hope that the Mighty Warriors would prevail over northern neigbours Zambia when the two teams clash in the Zone VI All-Africa Games preliminary round qualifier at Rufaro Stadium on February 13.
The team trooped into camp at the Zifa Village last week for the game and will not break camp.
“We retained the bulk of the players that played against South Africa. We also called up those who did well in Swaziland so it will be a mixture of experience and new blood.
“We have gone into camp early so that the girls familiarise with each other and try different combinations. I’m also appealing to supporters to come in their numbers and support the girl child as the game will be free of charge,” said Gumbo.