THE Mighty Warriors thrust themselves in line to defend their Cosafa Women’s Championship football title after walloping Kenya in the semi-finals at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
KENYA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
ZIMBABWE . . . . . . . . .(2) 4
ZAMBIA . . . . . . . . . . . . (2) 3
SOUTH AFRICA . . . . . .(0) 3
South Africa won 5-3 in penalty shoot-out
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Zimbabwe will meet nemesis South Africa in the final at Barbourfields on Sunday after Banyana Banyana booked a place by eliminating Zambia in a match that went all the way to a penalty shoot-out following a six-goal thrilling draw.
Rutendo Makore got her ninth goal of the tournament inside the penalty box past goalkeeper Poline Owino in the 11th minute after being sent through by Eunice Chibanda.
The return of midfielder Marjory Nyaumwe was a boost for the Mighty Warriors as she controlled the midfield to the hosts’ benefit.
Out of nothing, the hosts got their second through Berita Kabwe, who capitalised on a defensive gaffe by Juliet Andibo on the stroke of half-time and the Mighty Warriors midfielder powered past Owini.
After missing the last group qualifier against Malawi, Nyaumwe returned from injury with a free-kick in the 53rd minute, which eluded both her teammates and the Kenya defenders in the box and rolled into the back of the nets.
Makore was denied her second of the match by Owino on the hour mark after she was set up by Priviledge Mupeti, who went on to score the last goal.
The East Africans’ leading scorer Neddy Okoth was not given a chance by the Mighty Warriors defenders, who had a good game yesterday.
In the other semi-final, Banyana Banyana sailed through to the final after staging a dramatic comeback in regulation time recovering from 3-0 down to take the match to a penalty shoot-out.
Player of the match Leandra Smeda, Bambanani Mbane, Noko Matlou, Nompumelelo Nyandeni and Lebohang Ramalepe converted for Banyana Banyana with Shepolopolo’s Misozi Zulu, Grace Zulu and Lweendo Chisamu on target, while Esther Mukwasa missed her spot-kick.
Barbara Banda opened the account in the 21st minute, with Grace Chanda getting the second on the stroke of half-time.
The Zambians made it three through Misozi, with a flashing header past goalkeeper Roxanne Barker in the 73rd minute after Rhoda Chileshe had missed a penalty five minutes after the break.
But Banyana Banyana came back into the game, with Smeda notching a brace in the 76th and 78th minutes, and Refiloe Jane equalising six minutes before the final whistle.
Zambia and Kenya clash in the third-place play-off tomorrow.
KENYA: P Owino, J Adam, J Andibo, N Sikobe, N Okoth, C Omondi, P Msungu, C Kiget (M Achieng 65’), L Mukhwana (C Avilia 55’), W Asol, O Dorris
ZIMBABWE: C Dzingirai, L Mutokuto, S Makoto, N Majika, B Kabwe (D Kaitano 84’), T Mandaza, N Ncube (D Bhobho 42’), P Mupeti, M Nyaumwe, E Chibanda (V Mharadzi 79’), R Makore