‘Give equal treatment to men, women’s soccer’
FORMER Mighty Warriors midfielder Precious “Gringo” Mpala has called on Zifa to quickly remedy the crisis facing the national team’s preparations for 2016 African Women Championship set for Cameroon next month.
With 27 days to go before the start of the women’s continental football showpiece, the Mighty Warriors are yet to go into camp and their only prep has been a friendly against Egypt last month.
The friendly, which Zimbabwe won 2-1, had been touted as the start of preparations for the biennial competition, but the team is yet to regroup.
Mpala said it was high time women teams received the same treatment as their male counterparts.
She said after working hard to qualify for the competition, it was important for the nation to show its appreciation by ensuring the girls prepare well for the tourney.
She said results can only come with adequate preparations.
“I doubt if the men’s side would be treated this way. The girls made a historic qualification for the Rio Olympics, but little was forthcoming and I thought that would provide a lesson for the nation, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem so,” said Mpala.
“It seems the girls are being set up for failure because I believe they are now only left with two weeks of training and this is not enough for them to bring the cup home.
“You can’t blame them if they do not achieve success in Cameroon,” she said.
Despite the government intervening by setting up a fundraising committee led by Sport and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane, nothing has changed on the ground.
Hlongwane revealed the team needs $300 000 to cover all expenses from camping, preparations, air fares and allowances.
Mpala was part of the Mighty Warriors team, that featured in the African Women Championships and Cosafa finals together with former captain Nomsa “Boyz” Moyo, assistant coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda, Ruth Banda, Pretty Phiri and Rosemary Mugadza.
The former New Orleans player said it didn’t bode well for the women’s game if national teams are treated with disdain.
She was, however, upbeat the girls would hold their own at the tournament and prove they are a worthy investment.
“I wish the girls all the best and hope they prove their talents by performing well despite the constraints,” Mpala said.
Zifa spokesman Xolisani Gwesela said they expect the women’s side to troop into camp this week although he could not give a specific date.