Mighty Warriors draw Botswana 

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BY HENRY MHARA
ZIMBABWE were today drawn in Group B of this year’s Cosafa Women’s Championships and will face last year’s runners’ up Botswana, and guest nations Tanzania and South Sudan.

The tournament which is scheduled for September 15-26, will be held at the Nelson Mandela Bay, in South Africa, for the fourth year in a row.

South Africa who have won the last four editions that they hosted will take on Angola, Malawi, and Mozambique in Group A, with only the top team guaranteed a place in the semifinals.

Group C is headed by 2019 finalists Zambia, who have been so close to winning the tournament in the past but remain without success, as well as Namibia, Eswatini and another guest nation Uganda, who were an 11th hour entry after the Comoros Islands withdrew.

The top teams in each pool advance, as does the best-placed runner-up, so it will be all to play for in what has become a hugely successful and entertaining tournament on the African football calendar.

This year’s competition will take on additional significance as it comes just a month before the start of the qualifiers for the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations that are scheduled to begin in October, providing competing sides with the chance to fine-tune their plans for their bid to reach the continental showpiece.

That Women’s Cup of Nations will supply the African representatives for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and so in many ways the journey for teams to that global showpiece starts with the COSAFA Women’s Championship.

The Mighty Warriors performed dismally last year at the Cosafa when they were dumped in the first round. Not much is expected from them again this year as local football has been inactive for over two years now.

But the team has previously performed well under the harshest of conditions and coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda will be hoping that her team will do it against all odds again.

With local football grounded, the Cosafa tournament could be the only chance for the mighty warriors to get the much needed game time in preparation for the Africa Women’s championships qualifiers where they were drawn against some lightweights.

Zimbabwe were drawn against Eswatini in the first round of the qualifiers, with the two teams set to meet on October 18 in Harare before travelling to Maseru two weeks later.

If they manage to progress to the second round as expected they will meet the winner between Angola and Botswana, both beatable opponents, in the final qualifying round.

The winner of this contest will qualify to the finals to be staged in Morocco in July next year.