BY HENRY MHARA
BLACK Rhinos Queens, the country’s representative in the inaugural Cosafa Women’s Champions League, will today discover their opponent for the regional tournament when the draw is conducted in South Africa this morning.
The army side will be part of seven teams that will enter into the hat for the zonal qualifiers with the winner set to earn a ticket to represent the southern African region in the Caf Women’s Champions League later this year.
However, Rhinos’ participation will depend on them getting government approval.
Currently, all local sporting activities are on suspension as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.
They will need to apply for a clearance from the government through the Sports and Recreation Commission to start preparations for the tournament.
The draw for the tournament which is scheduled to be played from August 26 to September 4, will be conducted in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The host city for the competition will also be unveiled as the champions from women’s domestic leagues across the region fight it out for top honours in Cosafa’s first-ever club tournament.
Other teams that have confirmed their participation are South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies, Double Action Ladies (Botswana), Manzini Wanderers LFC (Eswatini), Lesotho Defence Force (Lesotho), Turu Magic (Namibia) and Green Buffaloes FC of Zambia.
Teams will be split into two groups, one with four sides and the other three, with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the semi-finals.
The Caf Women’s Champion League is due to be staged later in the year and the Cosafa competition will serve as a qualifier, with the winner advancing to the continental finals.
“We are delighted to be hosting the first Cosafa Women’s Champions League, which has been a competition we had been hoping to add to our calendar for some time,” said Cosafa general secretary Sue Destombes.
“Women’s football is certainly coming on in leaps and bounds in Africa and we are excited to be playing our part in that. We certainly see this as a competition that will grow bigger in the years to come and will be a fantastic platform for our players in the region,” she added.
Black Rhinos Queens were picked to represent the country after winning the league title in 2019.
The 2020 football season failed to take off because of COVID-19.
While Rhinos have not been cleared to start training sessions, they have been busy off the field in anticipation to their participation in the tournament.
They have acquired a number of senior players, including Mighty Warriors stars Rudo Neshamba and Merjury Nyaumwe on loan, to bolster their squad as they seek to make a mark in their first-ever appearance in a regional and possibly continental premier club competition.
Other stars that have been roped in on short-term contracts are Purity Mugayi, Concelia Madotsa, goalkeeper Cynthia Shonga and Agnes Tumbare.
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