Zimbabwe . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . (4)8
Malawi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. (2)2
Moments of pure genius from striker Rufaro “Mafidi” Machingura lit up Rufaro Stadium as the Mighty Warriors mesmerised a miserable Malawi with a performance rich in both elegance and class to ease into the semi-final of the Cosafa Women championships.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who was the guest of honour at the match could not hide his delight as he was seen clapping and waving his hands as the hosts produced such a majestic, magical and truly beautiful football that has long been forgotten in women football circles.
The Fifa boss also took the occasion to unveil a plaque for the Win in Africa with Africa Goal Project that financed the installation of the artificial turf at the Rufaro Stadium some three years ago.
Top government officials including Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart, Zifa President Cuthbert Dube and other Fifa officials Francesco Bruscoli and Ashford Mamelodi were also part of the proceedings at Rufaro yesterday.
It was an occasion for the Mighty Warriors to justify their growing status as one of the emerging forces in African women football and overwhelming favourite to win this year’s Cosafa Women Championship and with the Fifa top boss in attendance, they did justice to their new tag.
Their passing was imaculate, their ball movement meticulous and their general movement was simply sublime.
Best-player-of-the-match, Mafidi, fired in an astonishing five goals, Nokuthula Ndlovu weighed in with a brace while a screamer from the underrated Talent Mandaza capped an unforgettable afternoon for the Rosemary Mugadza-coached side.
“I cant believe that I scored five goals today, it’s just unbelievable. This is one game I will never forget in my life,” was all the excited Machingura could manage to say after the match.
The hosts dominated possession with some fluent passing, most of them engineered by veteran Marjory Nyaumwe but with Linda Kasenda having equalised Mafidi’s eighth minute opener on the 18th minute, the Mighty Warriors had to regroup again.
A minute later, Ndlovu put Zimbabwe in front with a booming shot that hit the underside of the cross bar and trickled in but Malawi immediately hit back with Kasenda deftly flicking over Onai Chingawo to create a nervy atmosphere in the stadium.
However, all fears were dispelled on the 27th minute when Mandaza fired home from some 30m out before Ndlovu rounded off the goalkeeper two minutes later to make it 4-2 at half time.
The second half belonged to none other than Mafidi who blasted his second goal of the match from a free-kick inside the box.
The lanky forward then produced a moment of magic on the hour mark when she collected the ball just outside the centre circle, dinked past a cluster of bemused defenders to fire home from close range.
Machingura completed her goal haul on the 69th and 74th minute and the last 15 minutes of the match were merely a conclusion of formalities as the Mighty Warriors were just content with passing the ball around, most probably reserving some energy for their last group matches against Mozambique at Gwanzura Stadium today.