Mighty Warriors beef up for Zambia second leg

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NATIONAL senior women football team Mighty Warriors’ coach Rosemary Mugadza has called up two extra players to training for the 2016 Rio Olympic first round second leg qualifier against Zambia at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.

BY HENRY MHARA

The Mighty Warriors trail in the tie following a 2-1 first leg defeat in Lusaka at the weekend, but Mugadza will be looking to build on the crucial away goal the team scored to progress to the next round where Côte d’Ivoire are possible opponents.

Eunice Chibanda, who has previously played for the Mighty Warriors and also captained the Young Mighty Warriors, has been recalled into the team after recent impressive shows for her club Black Rhinos Queens, and goalkeeper Hilda Marange who plays for Mufakose Queens.

The last time Chibanda played for the national team in 2013, she was used as a right-back, but has been transformed into a striker.

And with Mugadza looking for goals on Sunday, she has turned to the former Young Mighty Warriors captain to provide the answers.
Mugadza had hoped to call on the services of a proven goalscorer in Rutendo Makore for the decisive match, but the stocky striker, a soldier by profession, has other work commitments.

“Eunice is a utility player who has played as a defender before, but is being used as a striker at Rhinos at the moment. She has great potential and I think she possesses the qualities that we want for this match,” Mugadza said.

The Mighty Warriors technical team has been forced to call up Marange after third-choice goalkeeper Deliwe Makaha left camp this week to attend to family problems.

MAKORE

Mugadza also continues to wait on the fitness of Rudo Neshamba, the scorer of the Mighty Warriors goal in Lusaka, after she was pulled out of the match in the second half due to an injury.

Neshamba was initially an injury doubt to travel to Zambia before she was certified fit two days prior to the match.

“She has been resting since we returned and we hope she will resume training tomorrow (today). Everyone else is well and the mood in the camp is fine. The players are willing to work,” Mugadza said.

The Mighty Warriors need at least a 1-0 win or any two-goal margin victory to progress to the next round, while a 2-1 win will force the match into a penalty shootout.

Zambia were expected in the country yesterday and there is no doubt that much focus of this match will be on their forward player Barbara Banda whose masculine appearance raised concerns within the Zimbabwe delegates who were questioning her gender.

The start to the match was delayed for about 30 minutes as the two teams haggled over Banda’s gender.

Match commissioner Mozambican Palmira Francisco cleared Banda to play as she said the Fifa Statutes don’t allow officials to physically examine players unless with the consent of the player.

Banda flatly refused to be examined.