By Grace Chirumanzu
Zimbabwe women’s football team beat Egypt 2-1 in an international friendly at Rufaro on Tuesday.
The two teams were using the match as preparations for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations that is set for Yaoundé in November. Interestingly the Mighty Warriors were recently drawn into the same Group A with the North Africans including neighbors, South Africa and Cameroon.
Despite the victory, Zimbabwe coach, Shadreck Mlauzi, was not impressed with the outcome of the match, which he ruled out as a perfect yardstick of what to expect in Cameroon.
“I felt that they didn’t push us much like we had expected of such technically gifted side,” he said.
“We expected more out of them than what they gave us, they were tactically lose for my liking and did not push us to the level that we wanted, which ended up causing complacency here and there in the (Mighty Warriors) team. But a lot can change as we approach the (AFCON) games. So we will give them the respect they deserve and tournaments can be different.”
The Mighty Warriors, through their performance on Tuesday, proved their challenging experience against top international football teams during the Rio Olympics pushed them up to a different level despite not matching their opponents’ performance.
Even new faces in the team rose to the occasion to give the few spectators who parted with their US$1 gate fee something to cheer as Maud Mafuruse and Tonderai Masango scored for the home team early in the first half. A defensive lapse saw Zimbabwe conceding after the breather with Egyptian substitute rising from the bench to reduce the deficit five minutes into second half.
It is clear the Mighty Warriors have the potential to compete and even beat Group A opponents South Africa and Cameroon given more game time. With no functioning and competitive football league for the women in the country, the Mighty Warriors may as well continue to rely on such friendly matches, which the Zimbabwe Football Association have promised to organise.
Mlauzi believes her team’s performance against Egypt was in the region of what the technical team expected of them.
“From our side I think this is what we expected, even when we played Canada this is the kind of play we had, but we need more and more games to improve,” he said.