Banyana ready for Mighty Warriors

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South Africa women’s national team football coach Joseph Mkhonza has vowed to beat the Mighty Warriors as the two squads clash in the annual Unity Challenge Cup at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow.

The visitors, who arrived in Harare on Monday night, have beaten Zimbabwe twice in their last three meetings since last December.

In the inaugural competition last year, they ran out 3-0 victors before losing 1-0 in the Cosafa final in Harare. Banyana then beat Zimbabwe 4-1 in the All-Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique in September.

Banyana will use the match as part of preparations for the London Olympics while the Mighty Warriors will use it for the African Championships qualifiers set for January. They will open the campaign with an away assignment in Botswana.

“We are not taking this match lightly. We decided to play Zimbabwe because Zimbabwe and South Africa are the only strongest sides in the Southern Region.

“It’s obvious we are going to play in the African Championships qualifiers where we are going to meet the winner between Malawi and Zambia.

“Apart from that we are going to organise some friendly matches with other countries in the north. We are therefore taking this match seriously as we prepare for the London Olympics next year,” said Mkhonza.

Mkhonza brought with him three foreign-based players with two of them plying their trade in the United States while the other is based in Russia.

He was quick to point out they had a number of players who did not turn up due to injuries.
“We have other players who are on an injury list, but we hope they will join us in the January camp,” he said.

Head of delegation and Safa NEC member, Abel “The Lip” Rakoma praised his Zimbabwean counterparts the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) at the manner in which they had treated the team on their arrival at Harare International Airport last night.

“We were really given a true African VIP treatment and I just hope this relationship between Safa and Zifa grows from strength to strength. This is good for the two countries and growth of the game in the region,” added Rakoma.

Speaking to NewsDay Sport after their morning training session Mighty Warriors goalkeeper Onai Chingao said they had prepared adequately to upset their counterparts.

“We have left no stone unturned. Preparations have been going on well and we have no injury worries in our camp. Everyone is raring to go,” she said.

Banyana Squad:
Goalkeepers: Roxanne Barker, Thokozile Mndaweni
Defenders: Amanda Sister, Gabisile Hlumbane, Nothando Vilakazi, Cindy Meyer, Zama Cele, Simphiwe Masina
Midfielders: Nompumelelo Nyandeni, Kylie Ann Louw, Mary Ntsweng, Nomathemba Ntsibande, Memory Makhanya
Fowards: Noko Matlou, Leandra Smeda, Amanda Dlamini,Sanah Mollo, Andisiwe Mgcoyi.
Head Coach: Joseph Mkhonza
Assistant coach: Jerry Laka
Goalkeeper coach: Thomas Nare
Manager: Zanele Khanyile