The national Under-20 technical team is set to unleash the deadly striking pair of Rufaro Machingura and Rudo Neshamba on their visiting Mozambican counterparts as the two neighbours begin their assault on the World Cup finals berth.
The match, the first of a two-legged first round tie, will be played at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow.
The two strikers are part of six players from the senior side who have been roped in to bolster the Under-20 squad. They will inject the much-needed experience.
Other players are Eunice Chibanda, Emmaculate Msipa, Rutendo Makore and Danai Bhobho.
Mighty Warriors fringe players Rhodah Jongoti, Portia Mukucha and Elizabeth Chaparangana are also in the junior squad.
The two attackers had initially been excluded from the Under-20 team which played and lost to South Africa — having secured regular places in the senior team, but they will also have to do duty for the age group team whose strikers lacked the cutting edge in that preparatory match.
Neshamba, expected to play a leading role for the hosts on Sunday, said younger players in the team would have to handle the pressure that comes from playing in front of a big home crowd expected to throng Rufaro.
“Some of the young players in the team will be playing in front of the home crowd for the first time, but I don’t think they will be affected that much,” said Neshamba.
“As senior players in the team we will help them in every way possible. We have been talking to them since we came in and we are happy they are willing to learn. They are a good team to work with. In terms of women’s football I think our standards are a bit higher than those of Mozambique. We have beaten them before and I don’t think there is anything that can stop us from beating them again. We just need to keep focussed,”
Machingura, who of late has been overlooked by the Mighty Warriors technical team due to indiscipline and a slump in form, said this will be her chance to shine and force her way back into the senior side.
“I have not been playing in the national team for quite some time now. This is the chance for me to impress and convince the coaches that I can still play a big part in the senior team,” said Machingura.
“I will try to do my best to help the team to win. We beat the Mozambique senior squad last year, but this is a different match altogether. Maybe their junior squad is stronger than the seniors. We will have to be at our best,” said the gangly forward.