One Down


Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 2
Botswana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1

(Zimbabwe won the tie 3-1 on aggregate)
Despite a rather subdued performance, the Mighty Warriors avoided what could have been an embarrassing defeat at the hands of a technically disciplined Botswana during an Africa Women Championship second leg match at a packed Rufaro Stadium yesterday.

Leftback Ruvimbo Mutyavaviri’s speculative shot somehow managed to beat Botswana ’keeper Peggy Segokgo in the 47th minute while Erina Jeke’s volley four minutes from time made sure the lethargic Mighty Warriors team set up a date against Nigeria in the first round.

The visitors had taken the lead in the 21st minute when Thuto Ramafifi’s well placed shot beat diving goalkeeper Onai Chingawo, who injured herself in the process. Chingawo could not continue with the game and was replaced by Chido Dzingirai.

Mighty Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza said she was pleased that the team progressed to the next round but was not happy with the team’s overall performance.

“I’m not happy with the way the team played. We tended to follow Botswana’s play and never played our normal passing game. We did play badly but the most important thing is we managed to win the match and progressed to the next stage. This match is over and what is needed is to prepare for the next challenge,” said Mugadza.

Botswana coach Gaoletlhoo “Ronaldo” Nkutlwisang said: “The girls played well and we dominated the match but we lost concentration at crucial moments. The way we were dealing with crosses in our area was poor and we were punished. What is important now is how we are going to respond to this setback.”

It was Botswana who enjoyed the early exchanges, forcing four corners in the opening 10 minutes and it was no surprise when they took the lead.
A long, searching ball from the back caught the Mighty Warriors defence flat-footed and Ramafifi capitalised to slot past the stranded Chingawo.

The Mighty Warriors continued to huff and puff for the rest of the first half. The team clearly needed a moment of inspiration and Mutyavaviri produced it.

The veteran left-back collected the ball just after the centre circle, advanced forward before releasing a scorcher which proved too hot for Peggy who could only guide it into her own net.

Botswana’s afternoon was effectively over when Jeke, who had missed three glaring chances earlier in the game, volleyed from close range to relieve pressure from the strong crowd who were clearly apprehensive.

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