‘Give equal treat­ment to men, women’s soc­cer’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ngqwele Dube

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.

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