Zimbabwe senior national women’s football team, minus Rosemary Mugadza, touched down in Cairo, Egypt, early on Sunday morning ahead of the annual three-team invitational Arab tournament.
The Mighty Warriors, who were invited as a special guest in this year’s edition of the tournament, play the host nation at the Boktopr 3 Stadium on Monday before engaging Tunisia at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Wednesday.
Egypt, who are coached by former Highlanders gaffer Mohammed Fathi, will then face off with Tunisia in the last round of matches on Friday. All the teams will then be taken for a tour of the iconic Egyptian Pyramids on Saturday.
The games will be played in a league format and a team that accumulates the highest number of points will be crowned champions.
Kick-off for all matches is 1500hrs.
Mugadza could not travel with her team when it left Harare on Saturday afternoon as she was said to be attending to some pressing family issues. She is expected to join the rest of the team on Tuesday.
Assistant coach Richard Chikaola would hold fort in her absence. He will be assisted by the team’s technical advisor Maxwell Takaendesa Jongwe.
The 25-member Zimbabwe delegation, comprising of 18 players and officials left Harare on Saturday noon and arrived at the Cairo International Airport at around 0200hrs, after two brief stop-overs in Zambia and Ethiopia.
The team was welcomed at the airport by embassy officials Margaret Muskwe and Victor Hwacha and Egyptian Football Association officials, before being whisked away to the association’s magnificent complex situated in the heart of Cairo.
The team got down to serious business with a two-hour morning training session and were expected to have another training session on Sunday evening.
Despite the absence of Mugadza and a host of big names in the team, Chikaola remained optimistic the team would do well.
Other notable absentees are chief striker Rufaro “Mafidi” Machingura, who could not travel as she had to attend to her mother who is ill at home.
Tough-tackling defender Nobuhle Magika is reported to be in South Africa on personal business. The three teams are using the tournament in preparation for the African women’s championships which start early next year.
Zimbabwe play against neighbours Botswana in the preliminary rounds and the winner between the two teams will face African giants Nigeria in the first round.