BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
MIGHTY Warriors coach Sithethelelwe Sibanda said the team had done enough preparation to be assured of a positive result against Botswana in the second round first leg of the Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) 2022 qualifiers scheduled for the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
This is the final round of qualification for the Awcon finals scheduled for Morocco in July, and this year’s tournament doubles as the African qualifiers to the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.
Zimbabwe has been to Awcon four times with their last appearance coming in 2016 hosted by Cameroon.
Botswana are a familiar foe of Zimbabwe after the two teams clashed at Cosafa in October with the Mighty Warriors coming out 3-0 victors.
“We have tried to cover a lot. I think we are balanced now in all components of the game physically, tactically, mentally and also technically,” Sibanda said after the team’s final training session at the match venue yesterday.
“I think we are quite on the good side of being able to manage the game and its demands. It’s about managing the game, managing all the game moments in quarters or whatever and making sure the concentration level remains high,” she added.
Sibanda is wary of the danger posed by Botswana in spite of the fact that the Mighty Warriors won in the last meeting of the two teams.
“There is no room for complacency in that game, but at the end of the day what matters most is how prepared we are for this game. It is not about history, if history plays football then no team is going to train.
“It is about looking at this game as new as it is and looking at it like a Cup final and make sure we do our best from that but definitely there is no room for complacency. Past results will not matter on this one,” Sibanda said.
Botswana beat Angola 7-1 on aggregate to reach this stage including a 5-1 win away at the Estádio dos Coqueiros in Luanda.
However, the Mighty Warriors will be buoyed by the availability of their foreign-based players with captain Emmaculate Msipa, who plies trade in the Turkish Women’s Super League for Fatih Karagümrük, as the star attraction.
Rudo Neshamba, who recently joined Israeli Women’s Premier league club Ramat HaSharon on a five-month deal is part of the team while Danai Bhobho and Berita Kabwe, who play in Tanzania and Nigeria, respectively are also available.
The second leg of the tie will be played in Francistown on Wednesday next week.
A total of 12 teams will qualify to play at the Awcon finals and the top four teams at the tournament will qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand while two more teams will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.
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