Ellina Mhlanga Harare Bureau
THE Mighty Warriors resumed training on Tuesday with coach Shadreck Mlauzi recalling some of the players that were dropped for the first leg of their Olympic Games final qualifier against Cameroon.
The women’s national soccer side took on Cameroon in the first leg in Yaounde last Saturday and narrowly lost 2-1 and will be hosting the West Africans in the return match on October 18 at Rufaro Stadium.
Some of the players that bounced back into the squad are strikers Rufaro Machingura, who last played for the side in March against Ghana in the African Games qualifiers, Kudakwashe Bhasopo, midfielder Mavis Chirandu and defenders Melody Musasa and Talent Mandaza.
The Mighty Warriors need at least a 1-0 win to qualify for the Rio Games next year.
The side only had Monday to rest and were back in business on Tuesday with Mlauzi quickly calling his team to regroup with Pamela Bvochora (Chipembere), Sibonginkosi Nleya (Chapungu), Chelesile Dube (Borrow Jets) and Sithembile Nyoni expected to join camp late yesterday.
Mlauzi said “this is a do-or-die game” and they need experienced players who can handle the pressure that comes with such matches.
“It has been a question of experience and at the same time looking at the magnitude of the game. In the three days that we had the players, we assessed them and saw that they can’t handle the pressure that comes with the national team.
“We don’t want to put them into the deep end when they’re not yet ready. We have since instructed them to go back to their clubs and work on certain areas of the game that will improve them as players. Whenever we feel that they’re ready we will recall them again and give them another chance.
“We are happy that have beefed-up our squad and the response is fantastic.
“It’s a high profile match so we need to be at our best in terms of the squad,” said Mlauzi.
While the rest of the team were on the field yesterday, strikers Rudo Neshamba and Eunice Chibanda were forced to watch the game from the terraces due to injuries with the former suffering from a recurring knee problem while the latter has an ankle injury.
However, defender Lynette Mutokuto, who has a back injury, had a light training session before seeking attention from the team physiotherapist.
Mlauzi said the trio should be back in training soon.
His assistant Yohanne Chikaola said they need to correct a few mistakes and are happy they’re continuing with camp which will give them more time to work on the team.
“Cameroon is a good and respectable side but we have an equal chance to qualify. We have the same height and stature with the Cameroonians but we have to improve on fitness.
“We are also working on concentration because the goals that we conceded in Cameroon were due to lack of concentration. Hopefully, in this return leg we will manage to work as a team. We have a lot of time to practise and improve on the areas that we fell short.
“We are very happy with the two weeks we have, we are going to capitalise on that and work very hard. The Cameroonians can be beaten, they are not invincible,” said Chikaola.
The Mighty Warriors Squad
Lindiwe Magwede, Chido Dzingirai, Vanessa Lunga, Nobuhle Majika, Lynette Mutokuto, Sheila Makoto, Eunice Chibanda, Faith Chasi, Chido Muhara, Melody Musasa, Sithembile Nyoni, Amanda Five, Prisca Khumalo, Emmaculate Msipa, Rejoice Kapfumvuti, Felistas Muzongondi, Viola Ndlovu, Aldigrade Bhamu, Sifundile Moyo, Daisy Kaitano, Mavis Chirandu, Magret Kawinga, Rufaro Machingura, Talent Mandaza, Rudo Neshamba, Kudakwashe Bhasopo, Erina Jeke, Rutendo Makore, Pamela Bvochora, Sibonginkosi Nleya, Chelesile Dube, Marjory Nyaumwe, Sheba Rauli.