Super Sunday for Zim football

HARARE - It was superb weekend for Zimbabwean football after the Mighty Warriors and the Young Warriors qualified for next round of their respective 2016 Olympic Games campaigns.

The Mighty Warriors beat Zambia 1-0 at Rufaro Stadium yesterday while the Young Warriors held Swaziland 2-2 in Mbabane.

Both results were good enough to see the two teams secure passage to the next round.

The Mighty Warriors won the tie on away goals rule after the first leg ended 2-1 in favour of Zambia in Lusaka last weekend and will now meet Ivory Coast or Tunisia.

Zimbabwe who dominated possession for long periods got the all import goal through captain Felistas Muzongondi’s 25th minute strike.

At the final whistle, Mighty Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza was mobbed by her players, who hoisted her in the air in celebration of her 46th birthday which was on last Tuesday.

“I think we did very well for this game but we did not play well in the second half however, I am happy that we managed to win the game against Zambia who were in camp for a month,” said Mugadza.

“We need to start preparing for our next match, our executive and Zifa are doing their best for us to be where we are.”

However, Mugadza said disappointed by her side’s finish as they failed to score many goals to put the tie to bed earlier on.

Zimbabwe’s wastefulness in front of goal could have come back to haunt the side when Shepolopolo were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute.

Mighty Warriors goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai brought down Barbra Banda inside the box and Lekgowe Bolokonang from Botswana pointed to the spot.  

Shepolopolo striker Ireen Lungu shot wide from 12 yards out to the relief of Dzingirai.

“I think we need to work on our strikers as you know that today we failed to utilise the many chances which came on our way,” said Mugadza

Zambia goalkeeper’s coach Yona Phiri admitted her side had played second fiddle to a good Mighty Warriors side.

“I think the better team won today; Zimbabwe has got a strong squad and they played very well today,” he said.

“It’s very disappointing to bow out at this stage but this football we need to forget about this and start to build a strong team as you know most of the players who played today are from our Under-17 squad.”

Meanwhile in Mbabane, the Young Warriors got their goals from Tino Kadewere and Ronald Pfumbidzai while Swaziland scored through Mxolisi Mkhontfo and Muzi Dlamini.

Calisto Pasuwa’s men also progressed on away goals rule after the first leg ended 0-0.

Swaziland were the first to score through Mkhontfo from a penalty after blessing Moyo handled the ball inside the box.

However, the goal did not dampen Zimbabwe’s fighting spirit and after the breather Zimbabwe equalised through substitute Kaderwere in 63th minutes.

However two minutes later Swaziland were back on the lead through Dlamini’s goal.

The Young Warriors started to attack Swaziland in numbers and got their equaliser courtesy of Pfumbidzai’s penalty.

A total of eight teams will play in the final African Under-23 Championship tournament, to be hosted by Senegal in December.

The tournament will act as the qualification to the 2016 Summer Olympics men's football tournament in Brazil.

Only the top three teams in Senegal will qualify for the Olympics.

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