Chipo Sabeta at Barbourfields Stadium
Zimbabwe 4-0 Madagascar
MIGHTY Warriors’ star Rutendo “Madzimai” Makore netted a double brace yesterday as the Zimbabwe senior women’s side made a perfect start to the Cosafa Women’s Championship by thrashing Madagascar in their tournament opener yesterday.
After a slow start to the game, Makore banged her first goal three minutes from the break before adding to her tally three minutes after the breather.
Makore was once again the star of the show when she capped a hat-trick in the 77th minute before scoring her fourth in the 80th minute.
The Mighty Warriors, who are among the pre-tournament favourites, could have won by a wider margin were it not for the brilliance of Madagascar goalkeeper Verosantatartra Diana Andrianandrasana who was outstanding in first half.
Mighty Warriors coach, Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda described their first match as “perfect” despite the need to concentrate on their next assignment.
“It was a good start, a perfect start for us. The team is a mixture of youth and experience and the victory relieves pressure on them. To play the first game and win by scoring many goals and to finish with a clean sheet is great. I rarely single out any player, but Rutendo was on top of her game and I am happy when a striker performs that way. She is a player with a positive attitude and that’s what we want upfront,” said Sibanda.
“I saw a lot of positive things, but we don’t need to be carried away. This is the beginning and we have a long way to go. We rest tomorrow and start to think about the next game.”
The Mighty Warriors will face Zambia tomorrow in a potentially explosive encounter, but Sibanda said she will take each game as it comes.
Shipolopolo thumped Malawi 6-3 in their tournament opener yesterday afternoon.
Zimbabwe kick-started this year’s tournament by aiming to defend the crown they won in 2011, when the last edition was held in Harare.
“We have played Zambia before in different competitions, but this is a fresh game and we are going to work hard.
“Why do we have to single out certain teams? We are facing Zambia and we are ready for them. I watched their opening game and we are prepared to face any team. We were in camp preparing for such competition and I don’t want to put my girls under a lot of pressure. We will take each game as it comes,” she said.
Madagascar coach Joharinirina Rakotomalala is keen for an improved performance against Malawi.
“We managed to contain Zimbabwe in the first half but later lost concentration. We were disjointed and gave away possession. The goals came from the crosses and we didn’t defend well. We are hoping for an improved performance against Malawi. We want to do better than today’s performance,” he said.