Africa Women Cup of Nations draw date out
THE Mighty Warriors will know their opponents for the Africa Women Cup of Nations final tournament next month when the draw is conducted in Cameroon. The draw is set for September 18 in Yaoundé. The tournament will run from November 19 to December 3 in Yaoundé and Limbe with eight countries battling it out for the African title.
Zimbabwe’s Mighty Warriors will join seven other countries — Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa and hosts Cameroon, whom they defeated last October to book their place at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Speaking ahead of the draw, Mighty Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi said they expect tough games at the tournament.
“As always when you qualify for a major tournament you are most likely to be drawn with seeded teams. We have not been qualifying for these tournaments, so we expect to play against strong teams. Cameroon are there, Nigeria qualified as well as Ghana and South Africa. So we are looking forward to playing difficult games,” said Mlauzi.
The Mighty Warriors coach said as they shift their focus to the African tournament they are also hoping to inject new blood into the team.
“We want to extend invitations to those that did not make it to Brazil, who were not even part of the provisional team for Rio.
“This is their time to come out and show what they can do for us. You will see quite a number of new faces but I don’t want to pre-empty who is coming and who is not.
“We want to inject new blood into the team. Others have been given their chance, they have shown what they can do and we want to give others a chance. So we are trying to rebuild.
“Plans are always there but the issue is can we put them into action. Last year we came up with a clear plan but nothing materialised,” said Mlauzi.
The participating teams will be divided into two groups of four with the top two in each group advancing to the semi-finals.
The senior women side beat Tanzania and Zambia during the qualifiers held between March and April this year to secure their place at the final tournament in Yaoundé.
For Zimbabwe this will be their second major tournament this year after making their Olympic debut at the just ended Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Zimbabwe will be hoping to carry on with the fighting spirit they displayed at the Olympics despite losing all their group matches to Germany, Canada and Australia.