Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THE Mighty Warriors resumed training on Tuesday with coach Shadreck Mlauzi recalling some of the players that were dropped for the first leg of their Olympic Games final qualifier against Cameroon.
The women’s national soccer side took on Camer0on in the first leg in Yaounde last Saturday and narrowly lost 2-1 and will be hosting the West Africans in the return match on October 18 at Rufaro.
Some of the players that bounced back into the Mighty Warriors squad are strikers Rufaro Machingura, who last played for the side in March against Ghana in the African Games qualifiers, Kudakwashe Bhasopo, exciting midfielder Mavis Chirandu and defenders Melody Musasa and Talent Mandaza.
Having lost 2-1 in the first leg of the final qualifier in Yaoundé at the weekend, the Mighty Warriors would need at least a 1-0 win if they are to make it for the Rio Games next year.
The side only had Monday to rest and were back to business on Tuesday with Mlauzi quickly calling his team to regroup where the quartet of Pamela Bvochora (Chipembere), Sibonginkosi Nleya (Chapungu), Chelesile Dube (Borrow Jets) and Sithembile Nyoni were expected to join camp late yesterday. Mlauzi said “this is a do-or-die game” and they need experienced players who can handle the pressure that comes with such matches.
“Yes it has been a question of experience and at the same time looking at the magnitude of the game. And in the three days that we had the players, we assessed them and we saw that they were not yet ready really for the pressures and rigours that come with the national team.
“So we don’t want to put them into the deep end when they are not yet ready. So we have since instructed them to go back to their clubs and work on certain areas of the game that will improve them as players. Whenever we feel that they are ready we will recall them again and give them another chance.
“We are happy that we have bolstered our squad. We have beefed-up our squad and the response is fantastic.
“It’s a high profile match so we need to be at our best in terms of the squad so going away there in Cameroon, it was always about the players that we knew to some extent who could go out there and apply the tactical game that we really wanted,” said Mlauzi.
While the rest of the team were on the field yesterday, strikers Rudo Neshamba and Eunice Chibanda were forced to watch the game from the terraces due to injuries with the former suffering from a recurring knee problem while the latter has an ankle injury. However, defender Lynette Mutokuto, who has a back injury, had a light training session before seeking attention from the team physiotherapist. And Mlauzi said the trio should be back in training soon.
Mlauzi’s assistant Yohanne Chikaola said they just need to correct a few mistakes and are happy they are continuing with camp which will give them more time to work on the team.
“Basically, Cameroon is a good side and we must respect them but we have an equal chance to qualify also because remember we scored an away goal. We have the same height and stature with the Camerronians but only that our girls were not that fit, so we are working on fitness.
The Mighty Warriors Squad
Lindiwe Magwede, Chido Dzingirai, Vanessa Lunga, Nobuhle Majika, Lynette Mutokuto, Sheila Makoto, Eunice Chibanda, Faith Chasi, Chido Muhara, Melody Musasa, Sithembile Nyoni, Amanda Five, Prisca Khumalo, Emmaculate Msipa, Rejoice Kapfumvuti, Felistas Muzongondi, Viola Ndlovu, Aldigrade Bhamu, Sifundile Moyo, Daisy Kaitano, Mavis Chirandu, Magret Kawinga, Rufaro Machingura, Talent Mandaza, Rudo Neshamba, Kudakwashe Bhasopo, Erina Jeke, Rutendo Makore, Pamela Bvochora, Sibonginkosi Nleya, Chelesile Dube, Marjory Nyaumwe, Sheba Rauli.