Mighty Warriors urged to focus on Cameroon
MIGHTY Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi has encouraged his players to pick themselves up from the disappointment of their questionable defeat to Egypt and fight for their lives against Cameroon at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations underway here.
Mlauzi’s troops crashed 0-1 in controversial fashion on Tuesday night and now have the tall order against a Cameroon side backed by a huge crowd in their backyard who have already qualified for the semi-finals. Kick-off is 5PM Zimbabwe time. Mlauzi yesterday said his team still has everything to play for and they have to believe in themselves.
“We still have everything to play for in the last match,” said Mlauzi. It is going to be a tall order, the guys are really disappointed with the loss but it’s part of the game. We have to pick ourselves because we are playing against the hosts, a very difficult game that we will play.
“We remain positive. We qualified for the Olympics against all the odds against the same team, so we have to remain positive with inner belief.”
Zimbabwe and South Africa have one point each while Egypt are second with three points. If Egypt beat B a ny a ny a B any ana , the Mighty War r iors w i l l crash out irrespective of their resu lt against Cameroon.
South Africa can also qualify by beating Egypt while hoping that the Mighty Warriors fail to win their game.
“We still feel that we will go and get a positive result. So, at the moment, we will try to put the best possible team that will give us the best result,” he said.
The coach is racing against time to have his skipper, Talent Mandaza, fit before the game after picking up an injury in the match against Egypt.
Mlauzi made significant changes in Tuesday’s game, starting with four players who did not start in the opener against South Africa.
Mlauzi dropped midfielders Felistas Muzongondi, Emmaculate Msipa and defenders Sheila Makoto and Nobukhosi Ncube and threw into the fray new defenders on the flanks — Eunice Chibanda and Ruvimbo Mutyavaviri — as well as midfielders Mavis Chirandu and Aldigrade Bhamu.
"In coaching, you just don't look at one game in isolation, you look at all the games holistically looking at short and medium terms.
"So, at the back of our minds, squad rotation becomes important in a tournament and that is the reason why we bring 21 players, if you don't do that, the team suffers exhaustion.
"We saw it at the Olympics. But had we kept the core of the team that played against South Africa, there was a possibility the guys could have been worn out.
“You know the nature of our physical condition, these players took us one week to work with them and then we came into the tournament. So we were not at the best coming here."
Mlauzi welcomed the move by Zifa to lodge a complaint to Caf over biased officiating in their match against Egypt on Tuesday.
Mlauzi said while the complaint will not help their cause, it was good for future reference.
"ln as much as it is not going to change our final log standings, all the same it’s important for future references so that we are not treated as outcasts, as a football nation, because we are still an emerging nation in terms of football, so we need to be treated equally just like other teams," said Mlauzi.
Cameroon coach Enow Ngacho said he will field his strongest possible side.
"The South African match was a very difficult game and we are happy we were able to win and qualify," said Ngacho. We will watch the match of our opponents and see how they play.
"Now that we have qualified, the most important thing is to win our semi-final and for us to reach the final, we have to win all the games.”