BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO
Mighty Warriors coach Sithetheliwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda has commended the team’s performance at the ongoing Cosafa Women Championships in South Africa despite bowing out in the group stages.
Although they managed a second-place finish in their pool, after defeating South Sudan 2-1 and Botswana 3-0, the team failed to secure a place in the knockout stages due to an inferior goal difference to Malawi, who finished as the third best team.
In an interview after the Botswana match, Sibanda noted that the players tried their best considering that they were out of action for a very long time due to the COVID-19 pandemic control measures.
“We needed to restore our pride. We started off very shaky in our first games, with a lot of rust, to be honest. Sometimes you try pushing the players and you can see they are trying but they are very rusty,” she said.
“I’m happy that at least today, they tried very much. There were a lot of positives than negatives versus this Botswana outfit. We know what we were up against and that there would be a lot of pressure in this game as both teams were looking for an outright win.”
Botswana looked a threat after they hammered South Sudan 7-0 in their opening match.
“Well done to the players for that positive attitude and the work rate that they showed in this game,” Sibanda said.
“Whether we are in or out I’m actually impressed. We would have loved of course to play the other games in order for us to have even more match fitness and get that as we were out of football for a very long time.
“As a coach, I’m happy with how we played today as we managed to rectify some of the issues and also to try out some different combinations as we are approaching the AWCON qualifiers.”
The Mighty Warriors had a bad start as they were thrashed 3-0 by Tanzania in their opening match. Tanzania became the first team to secure a slot for the semi-finals with the hosts, South Africa, also managing to progress.
Zimbabwean striker Privilege Mupeti was voted player of the match in the game against Botswana after she scored one goal and also made an assist.
For the second time on the trot, the Mighty Warriors have failed to go beyond the group stages.
Follow Magreth on Twitter @MagrethRuzvidzo