Grace Chingoma, Harare Bureau
THE Mighty Warriors, and their Under-20 counterparts, are expected to go into camp today to begin preparations for the Cosafa Women Championships.
The tournament will be staged in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, from next Wednesday.
Zimbabwe will take on Angola in the opening match at the Nelson Mandela Bay.
The following day, August 1, the Young Mighty Warriors will meet South Africa in the opening match of the inaugural developmental tournament.
Mighty Warriors coach, Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda, had indicated that good preparations were key and had wanted a longer training period.
As for the Under-20 team, new coach Rosemary Mugadza will also have to work round the clock to assemble a competitive side.
Yesterday, Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said they will only announce the Cosafa squads after they have finished sending invitational letters to the players.
The senior team are in a group that also features Angola, Mozambique and Eswatini.
Meanwhile, Mozambique coach Sara Simone has named her provisional squad which she believes will make it to the semi-finals.
Simone has chosen a side that has both youth and experience, including forward Cidalia Cuta, who netted twice in last year’s competition.
The youngest member of the squad is 19-year-old defender Virginia Fernando, while the oldest is veteran defender Amelia Elias, who will be 33.
Cosafa champions South Africa’s coach, Desiree Ellis, has named a strong squad as the hosts seek to defend their title.
According to Cosafa.com, Ellis has made six changes to the squad that participated at the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup in France, mostly due to the unavailability of foreign-based players.
The only one of Banyana Banyana’s overseas-based players, available for the tournament, is Malaga forward Ode Fulutudilu.
“We have had to make changes to the squad due to the unavailability of the overseas players.
“Also bear in mind that we are in the new Olympics 2020 and 2023 World Cup cycle, and the Cosafa Cup serves as preparations for the 2020 Olympic qualifier against Botswana at the end of August – so this works in our favour to try out other players and see just how much talent we have going forward,” said Desiree.
Banyana Banyana are in Group A alongside Comoros Islands, Malawi and Madagascar.