Young Mighty Warriors assistant coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda believes her squad is capable of beating Nigeria, but only with enough preparations.
The two teams collide in the two-legged second round of the Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup later this month, with the West Africans heavily tipped to go through.
However, Kwinji 15, who is without a doubt familiar with the notorious trenches of Nigeria having played there in 2002, thinks her team is capable of upsetting their more fancied opponents.
“There is nothing extra special about Nigeria. What is needed is thorough preparations. The team should remain in camp to maintain the momentum. From their showing against Mozambique, I think the team is ready to face Nigeria. Football has evolved a lot in recent years. There are no longer big or small teams anymore,” said the former Mighty Warriors midfielder.
The Mighty Warriors, expected to regroup tomorrow in the capital, qualified for the second round after beating Mozambique 3-0 in the first round, second leg in Maputo last Saturday to conclude the tie at 7-0.
Bustling striker Rutendo “Madzimai” Makore scored all three goals for Zimbabwe.
Their reward for humiliating their neighbours is a clash against a team that participated in all the Under-20 World Cup tournaments since inauguration in 2002.
The Falconets, as the Nigerian Under-20 women team are affectionately known, reached the finals of the tournament last year.
In preparation for this seemingly improbable task, the Zimbabwe team will from this weekend camp in Hwange.
Women’s football boss Mavis Gumbo has said the team will train in Matabeleland North as they seek to familiarise themselves with the blazing conditions of Nigeria.
“We are working on the modalities, but the team should be leaving this weekend. We want them to get used to the conditions (similar to those) of Nigeria,” said Gumbo.
Meanwhile, Nigeria have already started their preparations for the encounter and last Sunday, their Under-20 head Coach Edwin Okon called up 29 players for camp. Nigeria sailed through to the second round without kicking a ball following withdrawal of their first round opponents Sierra Leone.