MIDFIELDER Emmaculate Msipa returns to the Mighty Warriors squad as she was named in the final squad that will face Tanzania tomorrow in an African Women Championships first round first leg qualifier at the Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam.
BY HENRY MHARA
The Mighty Warriors are expected to leave the country today ahead of the match which they are using as preparations for the Rio Olympic finals to be played later this year.
Msipa missed the team’s historic 1-0 second leg win over Cameroon in Harare last year to qualify for Rio Games, having played a starring role in the first leg in Yaoundé, through suspension.
But as expected, coach Shadreck Mlauzi named the midfield workhorse in his travelling squad, as the team look for a bright start to their campaign whose finals will be held in Cameroon.
Msipa’s inclusion is one of the four changes that Mlauzi has made to the final team that downed the Indomitable Lionesses. New Orleans defender Nobukhosi Ncube has also made it into the squad, while Patience Mujuru and Samkeliso Zulu make a return to the team.
Black Rhinos quartet of Rufaro Machingura, Rutendo Makore, Talent Mandaza and Kuda Bhasopo made way. But it is the availability of Msipa that thrills Mlauzi.
“She is a special player, one that any coach will want to have in a team,” Mlauzi said. “She has good height, technically gifted, has power and a high workrate that you would require when playing away from home. She brings another dimension to the team and I expect her to play the role of stabilizing the team and starting attack from midfield,” he added.
Mlauzi said, while Tanzania are a formidable team, he expects his charges to get a good result in Dar es Salaam, with the reverse fixture coming up in two weeks’ time.
If Zimbabwe goes past Tanzania, they will meet the winner between Zambia and Namibia in the second and final round qualifier, with the winner progressing to the finals.
Meanwhile, the Tanzanian government has offered financial incentives to the Twiga Stars, as the Tanzanian ladies football team is known, to beat the Mighty Warriors.
Reports from Dar es Salam shows that the government through the Information, Culture, Arts and Sports assistant minister Annastazia Wambura promised the team a 15 million shillings bonus, equivalent to $6 700, to win the match.
Twiga Stars’ coach, Nasra Juma said: “Our camp is in great shape and players’ spirit is high. Thank God that all players are fit and ready for battle. Our target is to hit the ground running by winning at home and be in a good position to knock them off,” she said.
In a bid to woe supporters to the match, the Tanzania Football Federation has pegged the lowest ticket at $0,35.
Mighty Warriors squad
Goalkeepers: Chido Dzingirai, Lindiwe Magwede
Defenders: Nobuhle Majika, Sheila Makoto, Eunice Chibanda, Lynett Mutokuto, Nobukhosi Ncube, Daisy Kaitano, Patience Mujuru
Midfielders: Emmaculate Msipa, Rejoice Kapfumvuti, Felistas Muzongondi, Marjory Nyaumwe, Mavis Chirandu, Viola Ndlovu
Strikers: Rudo Neshamba, Erina Jeke, Samkelisiwe Zulu