‘Mighty War­riors can be very com­pet­i­tive at Af­con’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - El­lina Mh­langa

MIGHTY War­riors coach Shadreck Mlauzi says with the right prepa­ra­tions they can hold their own at the Africa Women Cup of Na­tions where they have been drawn against hosts Cameroon, Egypt and South Africa in Group A.

The tour­na­ment is sched­uled for Novem­ber 19 to De­cem­ber 3 in Cameroon.

The draw was con­ducted yes­ter­day at Palais des Sports in Yaounde, Cameroon. And Group B is made up of de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Nige­ria, Mali, Ghana and Kenya.

Mlauzi said a good start to their cam­paign in Cameroon will be key and em­pha­sised on the need for proper prepa­ra­tions.

“Should we start well at the tour­na­ment, we should put our­selves in a semi-fi­nal po­si­tion. But first the prepa­ra­tions have got to be top of the notch. We are very much ca­pa­ble of be­ing quite com­pet­i­tive and win­ning against th­ese teams.

“We have won against Cameroon, South Africa and Egypt. Of course we have won against them be­fore. So we can go there and do ex­tremely well. Just like I said be­fore if our prepa­ra­tions are bet­ter we want to con­quer Africa. We have got the tal­ent in our coun­try,” said Mlauzi.

The Mighty War­riors coach said they are happy with the draw and the fact they have played the teams be­fore gives them a clue of what to ex­pect.

Zim­babwe over­pow­ered Cameroon last Oc­to­ber to qual­ify for the Olympic Games. They took on South Africa in May in a friendly match that was part of the prepa­ra­tion for the Olympics.

“We are happy with the draw. Most of the time when we qual­ify for th­ese tour­na­ments be­cause of our low rank­ing we ex­pect to be drawn against the big sharks for women foot­ball in Africa. It’s not go­ing to be easy of course.

“We have Cameroon, the team bay­ing for our blood given that we beat them in the Olympic Games qual­i­fiers.

“South Africa has done ex­tremely well, the ex­pe­ri­ence they have, they have shown that they can play at the world stage as we saw at the Olympics. Of course they were knocked out just like us but they showed that they can play at that stage.

“Egypt we will have a feel of them on Tues­day (to­mor­row). It will give us in­di­ca­tors to what to ex­pect from them,” said Mlauzi.

Mean­while the Mighty War­riors had their first train­ing ses­sion yes­ter­day at Gate­way with 16 play­ers of the 27 called up re­port­ing for camp ahead of their friendly game against Egypt at Ru­faro to­mor­row.

The match marks the start of the se­nior women’s side prepa­ra­tions for the con­ti­nen­tal tour­na­ment.

Nige­ria have won the tour­na­ment a record nine times while Equa­to­rial Guinea were crowned cham­pi­ons twice.

Although they had qual­i­fied for this year’s com­pe­ti­tion, Equa­to­rial Guinea will not be part of the teams bat­tling it out in Cameroon af­ter they were dis­qual­i­fied for us­ing an in­el­i­gi­ble player. They were re­placed by Mali.

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