Tough draw for Mighty Warriors

HARARE - The Mighty Warriors were placed in a tough Group F when the draw for the 2016 Olympic Games was conducted in Brazil yesterday.

Shadreck Mlauzi would have to contend with women’s football powerhouses Canada, Germany and Australia when the tournament starts on August 3.

Zimbabwe get their campaign going with a tough game against reigning European champions Germany, who are ranked number two in the world, on August 3, at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

The Die Nationalelf are one of the leading women’s national teams having won the World Cup twice (2003 and 2007) and have finished third at the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

The Mighty Warriors next game will be against Canada, who are ranked 10th in the world, on August 6 at the same venue.

The Canadians are no push-overs as they won bronze at the last Olympic Games in London.

Zimbabwe conclude their group matches with another tough encounter against Australia three days later at Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.

The Matlidas, who are ranked fifth in the world, will be another tough test for the Mighty Warriors.

The top two teams from each of the three groups will qualify for the quarter-finals together with the two best third-placed sides.

Brazilian Olympic Committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman said: “Today is a very important day in our Olympic journey towards the 2016 Olympic Games. The path of our National teams are defined. As a former athlete, I don’t like to talk about medals, but I know that the fans are anxious about it. I want to register my huge support for both of our national teams, as a Brazilian.”

A clutch of Brazilian sports stars lent a helping hand at the draw. The football world was well represented, thanks to the presence of Ronaldinho, the 2004 and 2005 Fifa World Player of the Year and the winner of a bronze medal at Beijing 2008, and centre-half Aline Pellegrino, who skippered the Brazilian women’s team to silver at Athens 2004.

Accompanying them were Janeth Arcain, a star of international basketball and a silver and bronze medallist at Athens 1996 and Sydney 2000 respectively and Maurren Maggi, who became the first Brazilian woman to land an individual gold medal in winning the long jump at Beijing 2008.

Group F: Germany, Australia, Zimbabwe, Canada.

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