Eswatini 0 – 3 Zimbabwe
(Zimbabwe win 6-1 on aggregate)
THE Mighty Warriors showed there is still life in domestic football with an impressive demolition of Eswatini to book their place in the second round of the Africa Women Cup of Nations qualifiers.
They crushed their opponents, in their backward, in the second leg of their qualifier, at Mavuso Sports Centre, in Manzini.
Zimbabwe went into yesterday’s game carrying a 3-1 lead from the first leg, at the National Sports Stadium, last week.
They scored the same number of goals they harvested, at home, but their defence could not be breached, in the decider yesterday.
The Mighty Warriors remain the most successful national football team in the country.
They are the only ones to feature at the Olympics, after they joined South Africa in Brazil in 2016, as the only two African representatives.
Although they are no longer at the high level, which they were when they played at the Olympics, they remain a competitive side.
They have been victims of administrative shortcomings, which came to a head when they boycotted their home 2020 Olympics qualifier against Zambia, as they pressed for payment of their dues.
While the Warriors are camped at very good hotels, the Mighty Warriors find themselves having to deal with camping at the ZIFA Village, where even basics like Wifi, is an issue.
But, this hasn’t crushed their spirits to represent their country with pride and, once again, they find themselves celebrating a good result.
That was enough to see them through to the second and last qualifying round of the qualifiers scheduled for next year in February.
Their first goal came from Marjory Nyaumwe, 12 minutes into the first half, which ended this battle as a contest.
The other two goals came in the second half from Maudy Mafuruse and Shyline Dambamuromo.
Nyaumwe was also on target in the first leg in Harare last week.
That the Mighty Warriors were able to score six goals, without their chief striker Rutendo ‘’Madzimai’’ Makore, who is injured, speaks volumes about their quality as an attacking force.
Admittedly, Eswatini are not the heavyweights, of women football, on the continent.
But, the game has been changing and such a victory, coming against the cloud of gloom, which has been hanging over domestic football, will taste sweet.
Zimbabwe will take on Botswana, who crushed Angola, (7-1) on aggregate, in their qualifier.
They won 2-0 in the reverse leg, yesterday.
The 2022 Africa Cup of Nations will be staged in Morocco in July with 12 countries taking part.
The Mighty Warriors last competed at the continental showpiece, in 2016, and they bowed out in the group stages.
They also qualified for the tournament in 2000, 2002 and 2004.
Zimbabwe reached the semi-finals of the tournament, on the Mighty Warriors’ debut appearance, in 2000.
It remains their best performance in Africa’s flagship women’s football tournament.
The Mighty Warriors missed the 2018 edition, when they lost to Zambia, in the final qualifying round.
The 2020 edition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Next year’s tournament will also serve as the African qualifier for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The top four teams from the tournament in Morocco will qualify for the global showpiece.
Two more African teams will have a chance to qualify for the World Cup if they win the inter-confederation play-offs.