Africa Women Cup of Na­tions draw date out

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - El­lina Mh­langa Harare Bureau

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.

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