They dreamt, they came, they saw.
Now the Mighty Warriors of Zimbabwe have reached the expected end of their historic journey at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games after suffering a 6-1 defeat to Australia in their final Group F match of the Women’s Football Tournament.
The result meant Australia qualified for the quarter finals as one of the best third-placed sides.
Virtually everyone knew it would take a miracle of insumountable proportion for the lowest ranked team in the competition to make it past the group stage, but in each of their three games, Zimbabwe did not go down without a fight and they also made sure they always grabbed a souvenir goal.
However, they looked jaded against Australia, conceding the first of three first half goals in the 2nd minute when the Aussies easily tore into their defence for Lisa De Vanna to tap home.
A little over 10 minutes later, an unmarked Claire Polkinghorne further exposed Zimbabwe’s defensive frailties, especially in set piece situations, when she converted a corner sent in by Elise Kellond-Knight.
Another corner by the no 8 saw Alanna Kennedy literally rise up to the occasion, heading in a third before the break.
Five minutes into the second half, the Matildas quickly continued from where they stopped with the goals as Kyah Simon got on the end of Steph Catley’s through ball for the fourth of the night. Before, substitute Michelle Heyman headed in the fifth from a corner in the 55th minute and completed her brace eleven minutes later.
While Alen Stajcic’s side were in the hunt for a seventh goal which would have guaranteed them second in the group standings, Zimbabwe found their breakthrough after a fantastic build up with Marjory Nyaumwe at the heart of things. Nyaumwe fed Emmaculate Msipa, who made no mistakes in putting the ball in the back of the net.
That settled it. Zimbabwe scored against every of their high-flying group opponents and were always crowd favourites despite conceding a basketful of 15 goals overall. Their status as heroines have definitely not changed as they now turn their attention to the Africa Women Cup of Nations billed to take place in Cameroon later this year.