Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
Zimbabwe ………………………(0) 2
Namibia …………………………… 0
(Zimbabwe win 4-0 on aggregate)
ZIMBABWE’S Mighty Warriors are through to the next round of the Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers after they dismissed Namibia’s Brave Gladiators at Rufaro yesterday. The victory saw them taking their tally to 4-0 on aggregate following their away win on Thursday in the first leg with an identical scoreline. They will now face Zambia in the final qualifying round of the qualifiers.
It was a game of two halves with the visiting side putting pressure on the home side to try and get an early goal as Spain-based Zenatha Coleman caused some problems for the Mighty Warriors’ defence.
But the second half belonged to Zimbabwe who came back a more determined side to grab two goals through Emmaculate Msipa in the 74th minute and Mavis Chirandu in the 85th minute.
Coach Sithethelelwe Sibanda said they had to work around their opponents’ weaknesses to emerge the winners from the tie.
“I would say overall it was an interesting match. It was difficult though, too much competition from the Namibians just like in the first leg but we detected their weakness which we tried to counter-attack.
“They rely mostly on their Spain-based attacker (Zenatha Coleman), who when she is isolated you will see less of Namibia. In the first half, just like in the away game, she was given too much room but in the second half the tactical organisation of our players was good.
“In fact, I would say in the last 20 minutes of the first half we assigned Lynett Mutokuto, who is a good man to man marker, to just track her all the time and then she was nowhere to be seen. So that was their weakest link where they relied more on the individual brilliance of the number 10 (Coleman). But they played a good game,” said Sibanda.
For Sibanda her decision to retain most of the regulars for their first round qualifier paid off as the returning trio of Msipa, Chirandu as well as Felistas Muzongondi, who came in as a substitute for Berita Kabwe in the 62nd minute, proved they are still in the game.
Zimbabwe had to wait until the 74th minute to break the deadlock when Msipa was set up by Nobukhosi Ncube to beat Namibia’s goalkeeper Melissa Matheus from close range.
Earlier on in the 68th minute Zimbabwe had escaped a scary moment when Chido Dzingirai blocked Ann Marie Shikusho’s effort from a free header before Ncube cleared the ball.
Chirandu then added the second goal for the Mighty Warriors with five minutes to full-time from a cross by Ncube, who had a good day in the office.
Namibia could have taken the lead as early as the 7th minute when Colemam’s effort from a free-kick went inches wide.
Coleman continued to haunt the Mighty Warriors but Chido Dzingirai was up to the task.
Sibanda said with fitness levels low within her team, they had to work more on the tactical side.
“So we had to work a lot on our tactical organisation so that we were superior on the tactical organisation,” said Sibanda.
Namibia’s coach Brian Isaacs conceded defeat and said it was always going to be difficult for them as they were trailing Zimbabwe by two goals from the first leg.
“When we arrived here we had a mountain to climb because in the first leg we lost 2-0 and today again we created a lot of chances but we failed to convert them. Zimbabwe got a few chances and they converted them.
“Overall my team has performed well . . . in Namibia there is no women’s league, so they are not playing in a women’s league so it was difficult for me to prepare the team. But overall our performance was excellent, it’s just that we failed to convert our chances. So good lucky to Zimbabwe,” Isaacs said.
Zambia progressed to the qualifying round on away goals rule following their 3-3 draw against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam and a 1-1 stalemate yesterday in Lusaka.
Zimbabwe: C. Dzingirai, N. Ncube, S. Makoto, N. Majika, L. Mutokuto, T. Mandaza, E. Msipa, M. Nyaumwe, M. Chirandu (S. Nyama 86th minute), B. Kabwe (F. Muzongondi 62nd minute), E. Jeke (M. Mafuruse 87th minute).
Namibia: M. Matheus, U. Kasaona, E. Amukwaya, L. Mulunga, L. Katuta, M. Ngonda (M. Hikuam 68th minute), E. Naris, V. Kotjipati (A. Shikusho 46th minute), T. Adams, T. Amukoto, Z. Coleman.