GER­MAN DUEL IN RIO Mighty War­riors face world powerhouse in Olympic de­but

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Sikhum­buzo Moyo

OLYMPICS foot­ball debu­tants the Mighty War­riors go into to­day’s open­ing game as un­der­dogs when they take on the phys­i­cally im­pos­ing Ger­mans in Group F, dubbed the tour­na­ment’s group of death.

Group F fea­tures three teams in the world’s top 10 that all made it to the quar­ter-fi­nals of the 2015 Fifa Women’s World Cup. Ger­many are ranked sec­ond, Aus­tralia fifth and Canada 10th in the world, while the Mighty War­riors are ranked 93rd in the world.

The Mighty War­riors’ brave coach Shadreck Mlauzi has warned of a “shocker” if the Ger­mans ap­proach the match look­ing down upon them. The match will be at 11PM Zim­bab­wean time. Mlauzi is un­der no il­lu­sion about what they are up against tonight.

“We know that we are up against a team that’s very phys­i­cal; they’ve very good height, are strong in the air, and be­cause of the ex­pe­ri­ence, they are most likely to dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion, so we will be more than happy to sit back, ab­sorb pres­sure and hope to catch them on the break. But again it’s im­por­tant that we be or­gan­ised de­fen­sively,” said Mlauzi.

He said the in­ter­na­tional friendly they played against China on Fri­day gave them good ex­po­sure de­spite their 0-3 loss.

While the Mighty War­riors lost their fi­nal prac­tice match, Ger­many routed Ghana 11-0 as they sought ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing African op­po­nents ahead of tonight’s clash.

Mlauzi said they had been work­ing on men­tally re­con­di­tion­ing the girls to re­move the fear fac­tor when they take to the field.

“Ob­vi­ously our girls, due to the na­ture of the op­po­nents, will be a bit fright­ened, but we’re try­ing to work on con­fi­dence. We hope we will be able to put on a per­for­mance that will as­sist us in fu­ture. We hope to stand our ground and give the Ger­mans a dif­fi­cult match and at the same time if they’re not care­ful, we might cause a shocker here,” he said.

He is also aware of re­al­ity on the ground and wants ev­ery­one to ac­cept and be pre­pared for any even­tu­al­ity, largely be­cause of the shoddy prepa­ra­tions the girls had, as the tech­ni­cal team’s strate­gic road map to Rio was to­tally ig­nored by Zifa.

“It’s ob­vi­ously not go­ing to be easy be­cause it’s our first time be­ing here. We’re try­ing to carve a good plat­form and gauge our state of women’s foot­ball. It’s quite a tall or­der, but we’re hop­ing the girls will come through and com­pete. It’s not about go­ing up there and want­ing to win the tour­na­ment be­cause there is still a big gap be­tween Africa and the rest of the world at the present mo­ment,” Mlauzi said.

Zim­babwe’s sec­ond game is against Canada on Satur­day fol­lowed by their fi­nal group game against Aus­tralia on Au­gust 9. — @skhu­moyo2000

Bruce Kangwa (cir­cled) in Azam colours

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