Mighty Warriors back home

HARARE - Mighty Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi believes his side learned value of proper preparations at the Rio Olympics Games where they were mercilessly put to the sword by their opponents.

The Zimbabwe women’s football side conceded 15 goals in their three group matches after heavy loses to Germany (6-1), Canada (3-1) and Australia (6-1).

Despite these lopsided scorelines, the Mighty Warriors won a lot of hearts due to their spirited performances during their first ever appearance at a global football tournament.

The squad arrived back home yesterday to a heroes’ welcome as hundreds of football fans gathered to cheer their stars.

“There are quite a number of lessons we learned; obviously, the first one is preparations but I’m not sure whether that will be addressed in the near future,” Mlauzi said.

“It is an issue that has to be addressed by the administrators.”

Zimbabwe only played two preparatory matches in the run up to the Olympics while their group rivals were involved in friendly internationals on a regular basis.

Mlauzi also wants better structures to help talent identification in the women’s game as his side’s height deficiency was cruelly exposed on set pieces.

“There was a vast gap between the physical attributes of our players and the opponents. You could see for yourselves that we were up against teams with an average height of 1,69m while our centre backs; the best that the country has had a height of 1,55m,” he said.

“There was a big difference; honestly it was very difficult for us particularly when defending at corner kicks.

“In retrospect, if you could look at the teams we faced more that 80 percent of the goals we conceded where coming from corner kicks, crosses and penalties; in open play we conceded a little number of goals.”

Mighty Warriors captain Felistas Muzongondi was pleased with the display from her teammates in Rio despite the heavy losses.

“I’m so proud of the team because just qualifying to go to Brazil, it showed we had beaten the other teams in Africa that we met,” Muzongondi said.

“When we went there to Brazil, we lost against Germany, Canada and Australia but we managed to score in all those matches.

“It shows we learnt a lot from those defeats and I’m just happy that we showed we have the potential. If we keep on working hard we can also reach the same level of those teams that beat us.”

After their Rio campaign ended, the Mighty Warriors have now shifted their focus to the 2016 Women’s African Cup of Nations to be held in Cameroon later in November.

Zimbabwe will be making their fourth appearance at the Afcon finals with their last qualification coming way back in 2004.

Meanwhile, some of the Mighty Warriors players felt aggrieved by the treatment they received from the Zimbabwe

Football Association and Zimbabwe Olympic Committee upon arrival.

The players were literary “dumped” and given $5 for bus fare to return to their bases.

There are some players who live in faraway places like Bulawayo with the amount not adequate.

Comments (2)

Since we are a lawlessness country, why not have one or two grabbed mines, be allocated specifically for spot development. Had these ladies by some miracle went on t play final or win it, we would have seen many swearing that they know the might warriors. $5 for national duty??

X-MAN IV - 13 August 2016

I must start by saying kudos to Mlauri and the mighty warriors for their efforts. I was privilledged to watch all of their Olympic matches. While I agree 100% with Mlauri on the need for adequate and proper preparations, I disagree that height has anything to do with the losses. Come on! the Japanese are on average shorter than the mighty warriors but they have won the world cup and beat top teams. So I think it is mostly about fitness, and preparations that Zimbabwe needs to address. Football/Soccer is a full time profession and our administrators should start to treat it as such

gudo - 15 August 2016

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