A HEROIC Mighty Warriors team survived the dismissal of three of its players including star player Merjury Nyaumwe in the first half to beat Uruguay senior women’s football team in an international friendly match at the Domingo Burgueno Miguel Stadium in Maldonado on Saturday night.
HENRY MHARA in Maldonado, URUGUAY
Nyaumwe was red-carded on 32 minutes, three minutes after Rutendo Makore had put the visitors in front with a sublime chip over Uruguay goalkeeper Sofia Olivera.
Catherin Berni put the hosts level on 72 minutes with a diagonal shot from inside the box and things got worse for the Mighty Warriors five minutes later when defender Patience Mujuru was shown a straight red card for what looked like a fair challenge on an opponent.
With five minutes remaining and against the run of play, Felistus Muzongondi gave Zimbabwe the advantage, finding the right top corner with a freekick from just outside the penalty area.
Ninety minutes were up when Emmaculate Msipa, a 73rd minute substitute was given a second yellow card by the inconsistent local referee Alejandra Trucidos.
The match was the third for the Mighty Warriors here following their 3-3 draw against the same opposition on Tuesday before burying the Uruguayan Under-20 women’s team with a 5-1 scoreline two days later.
Zimbabwe was presented with a trophy for their heroics.
Mighty Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza reckons that beating Uruguay, ranked 68 on the Fifa Women’s World Rankings, 24 places better than Zimbabwe — and their juniors who participated in the Fifa women’s Under-20 world cup last year — showed that her squad can compete with the best the world can offer.
“When we came here I didn’t think we would perform the way we did against Uruguay who are one of the top teams in both men and women football. We did exceptionally well and our win here is testimony that we are improving as a team,” said Mugadza.
“We came here to learn and I’m happy with what we saw here.”
Turning on to the Saturday match, Mugadza said: “We did not play our normal passing game especially in the first 20 minutes probably due to fatigue because we played three matches in a short space of time. Up to the point when we got the red card did we start to play as a unit. All the three red cards were not supposed to be given, it shows Uruguay wanted to win this match at all costs even using dirty tactics.
“The officiating in the final match was not up to standard, but on the other hand, it was a blessing in disguise because that is the same treatment we sometimes get when we play away from home. I’m happy with the way the players handled the situation, they showed good mental strength.”
The victorious team is expected to touch down at the Harare International airport aboard the South African Airways this afternoon.