THE Mighty Warriors face their toughest challenge in the Cosafa Women’s Championship group qualifiers when they engage Zambia in their second game of the tournament at Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The aggressive Zambian outfit beat other strong contenders Malawi 6-3 in the first Group A match on Wednesday before Zimbabwe also put up a formidable second half performance to glide past Madagascar at the same venue.
The Mighty Warriors/Zambia game will be played after another Group A tie pitting Malawi and Madagascar as Zimbabwe seek to push through and qualify for the semi-finals.
Striker Rutendo Makore guided the Mighty Warriors to their first win banging four goals against the Madagascans, who are making their maiden appearance at the Cosafa tournament.
Zimbabwe won the match 4-0.
Marjory Nyaumwe was in good form for the Mighty Warriors with right-back Sheila Makoto sending in the crosses that demolished Mdagascar on Wednesday.
However, the hosts will have to up their game against Shepolopolo who appeared to mean business when they beat an equally determined Malawi.
After beating Madagascar, Mighty Warriors coach Sithethelwe Sibanda said they were taking it one step at a time and not looking too far ahead.
She has previously said they want to go all the way to the final and retain the championship.
“We do know Zambia and they know us, but each game has its own approach and we will take each game as it comes,” Sibanda said.
The player to watch in the Zambian side is their captain Barbara Banda.
Their coach Albert Kachinga believes they have to work on strengthening their defence against Zimbabwe.
“We are twins with Zimbabwe. It’s not going to be easy. They have beaten us and we have beaten them before. I think we have to work on tightening our defence. If we don’t concede I think the game can go either way.
Our game plan is to tighten our defence and if we can get three points against Zimbabwe it will be a bonus to us,” he said
In the first Group B match played at Luveve Stadium yesterday morning Swaziland beat Mauritius 3-0 with goals from Nomvulo Sanga, Nobuhle Mdluli and Celiwe Nkambule.
Meanwhile, South Africa emerged with an emphatic win over Lesotho in the Group B second match of the Cosafa Women’s Championship at Luveve Stadium yesterday.
Leandra Smeda scored the first goal for South Africa with a speculative long-range shot in the 28th minute which was misjudged by Lesotho goalkeeper Mosilinyane Lefaphana and the ball hit the back of the nets on the far post.
The second came in the 67th minute through Chantelle Esau after she was sent through by Rhoda Mulaudzi to beat an advancing Lefaphana.
Chrestina Kgatlana was a revelation for Banyana Banyana coming from the bench to liven up the match with her raids from the left wing and was rewarded in the 73rd minute when she rounded off the Lesotho defenders including Lefaphana to easily tap in the ball into an empty net.
Group A: Madagascar v Malawi 1030am, Zimbabwe v Zambia 2pm (Barbourfields)
Group C: South Africa v Namibia 430pm (Barbourfields)