Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
MIGHTY Warriors coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda has lamented the absence of captain Talent Mandaza, who is set to miss this year’s COSAFA Women’s Championship in South Africa, due to work commitments. The regional football showpiece gets underway on September 12 in Port Elizabeth and Zimbabwe, the runners-up last year are seeking to surpass their previous performance.
The tournament runs until September 22. Mandaza will not be part of the team because of work commitments.
“Talent is our influential captain, she is a leader in the field of play and she drives the team. But she can’t be in two places at the same time. So, she is excused for this tournament.
“I would say maybe technically we have got the players to replace (her), but of course, I wouldn’t lie, she is a player who possesses (more skills) other than the technical skills on the field of play.
“But, I am confident some of the players, the likes of Emmaculate (Msipa), since they have played a number of times with Talent, can emulate what she does,” said Sibanda.
The senior women’s team had their first session together yesterday at the ZIFA Village, with the technical team assessing the fitness of the players.
They were left with a 29-member provisional squad after Auckland’s Rumbidzai Zhoya could not make it amid indications she picked an injury over the weekend.
“We are good to go. We are good to participate, I think that’s what we were really trying to test and I would say we are not that bad.
“I think we can withstand the pressure if we work on our tactics and then the physical quality is able to support our tactics.
“We have seen our fitness levels and we are now looking at what tactics we can use to approach the matches we are going to play,” said Sibanda.
The Mighty Warriors are the favourites in Group C where they will face Namibia, Swaziland and Uganda.
The senior women’s side coach also added some new faces in team with the likes of Harare City striker, Shamiso Mutasa, getting her first call-up to the senior side and is optimistic of making the final team.
“It’s my first time to be called to the national team, which is something I have been wishing for since I started playing football,” said Mutasa.
Group A: South Africa, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi.
Group B: Zambia, Cameroon, Lesotho, Mozambique.
Group C: Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia, Uganda.