Mighty War­riors shift fo­cus to Af­con

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Harare Bureau

AFTER mak­ing their maiden ap­pear­ance at the Olympics in Brazil, the Mighty War­riors are now shift­ing their fo­cus to the Africa Women Cup of Na­tions in Cameroon later this year.

The Cup of Na­tions is sched­uled for Novem­ber 19 to De­cem­ber 3.

The se­nior women side qual­i­fied for the com­pe­ti­tion in April when they beat Zam­bia in the last round of the qual­i­fiers.

This is their sec­ond ma­jor event this year fol­low­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion at the on­go­ing Olympic Games, where they bowed out in the group stages.

Their jour­ney to the Olympics was not an easy one, with lack of funds af­fect­ing their prepa­ra­tions.

And Mighty War­riors’ tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sor, Barry Daka, yes­ter­day said it was time for the team to start pre­par­ing for the forth­com­ing tour­na­ment in Cameroon.

“To be hon­est be­cause we don’t have a very good run­ning league for women it will be wise to go into camp early.

“There are many things we should do as a na­tion. If you look at the prepa­ra­tions, which we had (for the Olympics), we did very well.

“But now we are back we need a lot of mo­ti­va­tion be­cause the tech­ni­cal de­part­ment is do­ing very well but the prob­lem now comes when we need train­ing games. They are not enough.

“We can’t keep on hav­ing in-house train­ing. Some­times we play young boys from Harare City, Un­der-17 or Un­der-16 which is not enough. We need to play teams from out­side Zim­babwe,” said Daka.

Daka said there was need to change at­ti­tude to­wards the women’s team and sup­port them fi­nan­cially just like their male coun­ter­parts.

“When we are in camp, the prob­lem which we face is al­lowances for the girls. If you qual­ify for such a mas­sive tour­na­ment and what you get should bal­ance.

“At that level you can’t go into a camp and not get any­thing. Those are girls, they have re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. They want to per­form and the tech­ni­cal team wants to work but the prob­lem is there.

“It’s dif­fi­cult, I may sound as if I am bit­ter or as if I am com­plain­ing but it’s a fact, with­out fi­nan­cial mo­ti­va­tion it be­comes dif­fi­cult.

“We know there is no rev­enue be­ing brought in by women (foot­ball) but if we con­sider that they have man­aged to qual­ify for two ma­jor com­pe­ti­tions, at least, some­thing should come. We need that type of sup­port.

“Why the boys are do­ing well is be­cause they know if they play for the na­tional team, they get to such lev­els and they qual­ify, they will get some­thing,” said Daka.

It has also emerged that the Mighty War­riors re­ceived $500 each from the Zim­babwe Olympic Com­mit­tee for their ad­ven­ture in Brazil.

The Africa Cup of Na­tions will fea­ture eight coun­tries - hosts Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nige­ria, South Africa and Zim­babwe.

Zifa com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer, Xolisani Gwe­sela, said they will be meet­ing with the tech­ni­cal team when they come back from a coach­ing course they are at­tend­ing in Cameroon.

“The coaches are cur­rently in Cameroon for a coach­ing course. So both (Shadreck) Mlauzi and Si­thethelelwe (Sibanda) left for Cameroon on Sun­day.

“Ev­ery tour­na­ment is very im­por­tant. When they are back at the end of the week we will sit down with them and look at their pro­gramme and the roadmap for Cameroon. We will agree on camp­ing dates and look at lo­gis­tics for­mal­i­ties. As Zifa we are fi­nan­cially con­strained, we are mak­ing a spe­cial ap­peal to the gov­ern­ment, in­di­vid­u­als and cor­po­rate spon­sors to chip in and part­ner the Mighty War­riors.

“The fund­ing of these na­tional teams is not a re­spon­si­bil­ity of Zifa alone, it’s a col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity for each and ev­ery­one,” said Gwe­sela.

Zim­babwe’s best per­for­mance at the tour­na­ment was fourth po­si­tion, in 2000. The tour­na­ment was held in South Africa.

Barry Daka

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