Mighty Warriors coach Sithetheliwe Sibanda has admitted that it would be difficult for Zimbabwe to qualify for the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) finals following Friday’s 1-3 loss to Botswana at the National Sports Stadium.
The Mares of Botswana scored all their three goals in the second half through striker Refiliwe Tholakele and a brace from Lesego Radiakanyo.
The mighty Warriors got their consolation goal from Black Rhinos Queens midfielder Privilege Mupeti who had replaced Rutendo “Madzimai” Makore in the 85th minute.
Zimbabwe has to overturn the deficit in the reverse fixture next Wednesday in Francistown to qualify for the AWCON finals. Said Sibanda:
Botswana came here and scored three goals; with the right mindset we can still go out there and upset them in their home ground.
Of course, it is going to be a tall order, and we really need a lot of mental fitness from the players.
Sibanda blamed defensive blunders for the loss and also a lack of match fitness despite having 16 days to prepare for the match. She said:
It was a very intensive game I would say and very physical, as l had alluded to earlier on that we would be playing a much fitter side.
They brought their physical presence into the game. I think the mistake that we made, was that the players tried to absorb the pressure but as we absorbed the pressure, we then played to their strengths which were on the long ball.
Each time we tried to rotate it, we were doing much better than when we pumped the ball around.
So overall it was a very intensive game, a good game, and we could have done better with the chances that we created.
But I must say defensive errors cost us the match. Such goalkeeping and defensive errors at this level are not acceptable. It’s football, we move from here.
The winner over the two legs will qualify for the women’s version of the Africa Nations Cup to be hosted by Morocco in July.