MIGHTY Warriors assistant coach, Sithetheliwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda has warned her team to take nothing for granted when they take on Tanzania in an African Women Championships first round second leg football match at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow.
BY HENRY MHARA
The home side are clear favourites to advance to the next stage after scoring two away goals in their 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture in Da es Salaam a fortnight ago.
Erina Jeke scored a brace to put the Mighty Warriors well on course for a place in the second and final qualification stage ahead of the finals.
But Kwinji 15, who was one of the stars of the Mighty Warriors squad that featured in the African Women Championships in Nigeria over a decade ago, says her side need to guard against complacency.
“We won 2-1 away from home and they (Tanzania) can also do the same. We are in a good position because of the two away goals, but it is still a difficult match for us. We will have to approach it with high levels of concentration,” she said.
“The tie is not done yet because we expect them to come and attack us, but we have prepared for such a scenario. We have worked hard to be where we are at the moment and I am confident that we will get the result we want.”
The winner of this clash will meet the winner between Zambia and Namibia in the final round, although it is likely to be the former, as they carry a 3-1 advantage from the first leg.
The second round winner will qualify for the finals to be hosted by Cameroon in November.
Zimbabwe will go into the match boosted by the news that chief striker, Rudo Neshamba might be available.
She has been doubtful for the match throughout the week with a nagging knee injury, which coach Shadreck Mlauzi said might need surgery, but her condition has improved. She is expected to start from the bench though. The bad news is the injury to defensive midfielder, Rejoice Kapfumvuti, who picked a knee injury in training. Sibanda said she will have to pass a late fitness test to play in the match.
Zifa yesterday announced gate charges for the match, which will kick-off at 3pm.
The cheapest ticket has been pegged at $1, while the upper grand stand is $3 and $5 for the VIP stand.
Zifa spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela encouraged supporters to go to the Stadium and rally behind the team.
“We would like to encourage the fans to fully support the team and come in their masses since the gate prices are affordable,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Twiga Stars, as the Tanzania women football team are known, were expected in the country yesterday.
Their coach Nasra Juma, is convinced her charges can reverse the score and go through although she admitted that they face a tall order.
“It is true that the odds are heavily stacked against us, but we have what it takes to reverse the score at their own backyard and progress to next stage,” she said.
The match will be handled by Letticia Antonella Viana of Swaziland, who will be assisted by her compatriots Mkhaliphi Patricia Buyile and Siphiwayinkosi Cosma Nxumalo. Noronha Rodrigues Pereira of Mozambique is the match commissioner.