Nigeria…………. (1) 2
Zimbabwe senior women football team are facing elimination from the African Women Championships qualifiers after going down to visiting Nigeria at Rufaro Stadium yesterday.
Evelyn Nwabuokos powerful shot from range in the 13th minute put the visitors in front before Stella Mbachus low drive in the 75th minute ensured the continents number one ranked team took a healthy lead back to Nigeria.
The two teams clash again in the reverse fixture in Lagos in two weeks time.
Nigeria coach Kadiri Ikhana who took over at the helm some few months ago was satisfied by his teams performance.
This is my first competitive match and Im very happy with the result. We came all the way from Nigeria and managed to win against a very good Zimbabwe side, so Im very satisfied, said Ikhana.
Mighty Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza felt her side wasjust unlucky.
We matched them in every department and dominated the match especially in the first half but we couldnt take our chances. We need to work on the whole team before we go to Nigeria, said Mugadza.
Zimbabwe, who played the match in front of Vice-President Joice Mujuru, were the superior side for the better part of the match, dominating possession, but lacked the killer instinct in front of goal.
Midfielder Tsitsi Mairosi hit the underside of the cross bar midway through the second half and striker Rufaro Machingura was on numerous occasions denied by the brilliance of Nigerian goalkeeper Precious Dede.
Zimbabwe continued to pile pressure, but the Super Falcons were looking dangerous on counter attacks. One such counter attack in the eighth minute saw Mbachus shot parried wide by an outstretched Onai Chingawo in goals for Zimbabwe.
However, there was nothing Chingawo could do three minutes later when Nwabuoko released a shot that settled in the nets.
Zimbabwe had a chance to hit back immediately but Nokuthula Ndlovu failed to connect from less than a metre out, miscuing her shot into the stands.
With pressure piling, Ikhana was forced to make a change, bringing in defender Gloria Chetachi in place of Martina Onyinyechi.
The second half began as the first had ended, with Zimbabwe having much of the ball, but failed to utilise it.
Machingura was afforded space in the box but blasted her effort over with the supporters on their feet in anticipation of a goal. Five minutes later, Mairosis long range effort hit the underside of the bar and Machingura failed to finish off the rebound, blasting her effort straight at the goalkeeper.
Zimbabwe were to be punished for that near miss a minute later when Rita Chikwelu threaded a pass between the defenders and Mbachu ghosted from behind to slot the ball under the advancing Chingawo.
Machingura was also denied by the legs of Dede on 80 minutes, which proved to be her last kick of the game as she was immediately replaced by Rutendo Makore.