By Ellina Mhlanga
As the Africa Women Cup of Nations final qualifying round draws closer, Mighty Warriors coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda says they need to regroup soon ahead of their tie against arch-rivals Zambia early next month.
It’s just over three weeks before the two teams clash in the second round, with the matches scheduled to be played between June 4 and June 9.
The Mighty Warriors will travel to Zambia for the first leg and wrap up their qualification campaign at home
Zimbabwe beat Namibia 4-0 on aggregate in the first round to book a date against their old rival Zambia, who qualified for this round on away goals rule, after a 4-4 aggregate draw.
Zambia held Tanzania to 3-3 in Dar es Salaam before they settled for a 1-1 stalemate in Lusaka. They regrouped for the upcoming tie early this week.
“Qualifying for the next round means tougher matches. Zambia are taking this game seriously and they have just resumed camp up to the time we play them.
“Hopefully, the office (ZIFA) should get something so that we start preparing . . . we just hope they organise something soon. As always all coaches want better preparations for their team
“It’s always ideal to get friendly matches especially when you don’t have a proper league running. At the end it will always be ideal to have, at least, a longer camp, so that we can even play local friendlies and try out some combinations.
“It’s not the best but that’s the least we can do,” said Sibanda.
Interestingly, for Zimbabwe and Zambia, it’s the same scenario as in in 2016 when they met in the final qualifying round.
The Mighty Warriors emerged winners to qualify for the continental football showpiece staged in Cameroon.
In 2014 Zambia had upstaged Zimbabwe to qualify for the final tournament in Namibia.
“It’s pretty much the same squad that played (first round). We have maybe just two or three additions. There is a young defender, a centreback I want to look at from Herentals and the other one if from Harare City,” Sibanda said.
ZIFA communications and competitions manager, Xolisani Gwesela, said they will only be able to talk about the team’s preparations next week.