Mlauzi rallies Mighty Warriors

HARARE - Mighty Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi has urged his charges to make full use of their international friendly match against Egypt this afternoon at Rufaro Stadium.

This is the first step in the team’s preparations for the 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) later this year.

The match kicks off at 4pm.

Mlauzi, who made history by leading the Mighty Warriors to Rio Olympic Games, believes matches of this magnitude present an opportunity to assemble a stronger squad ahead of the tournament to be held in Cameroon.

The Awcon finals will run from November 19 to December 3 and the Mighty Warriors were placed in Group A were they will face hosts Cameroon, neighbours South Africa and today’s opponents.

Group B consists of Nigeria, Mali, Ghana and Kenya.

“We are playing Egypt tomorrow (today) and we are expecting a very good game,” Mlauzi said.

“They have qualified for the Awcon and we give them a lot of respect. I think it’s one match that serves to give us indicators on what to expect at the Awcon since we were paired against them.

“We are treating the match seriously and we want to win so that we can get the psychological edge against them ahead of the tournament.

“So this is a good preparatory match for the girls. We are using the opportunity to assemble a competitive side before we travel to Cameroon.”

Mlauzi, who looked helpless as the Mighty Warriors played second fiddle to their more superior opponents at the Olympic Games in Brazil, insists the weekend’s draw was fair but called for enough preparations for them to do well at the tournament.

“Of all the teams that we have been drawn against, we have played them before and none is invincible. Our history against Cameroon we all know but, of course, this is will be a different ball game all together and it’s going to be difficult,” Mlauzi said.

“South Africa; we have played against them and it’s always a closely-contested affair. They are a very good side, well-organised with a lot of good players and we need to respect them as well. Personally, I feel we can go far in this tournament.

He added: “What’s important, however, is the preparations. We all know that our preparations for the Olympics were not up to scratch and we need to go a level up.

“I am sure if we can do that and have enough preparations we can cause upset in Cameroon.

“I am confident that we can even conquer Africa if we can have proper preparations.”

Mighty Warriors skipper Felistas Muzongondi, her deputy Rudo Neshamba, Erina Jeke and Samukeliswe Zulu will not be part of today’s squad as they are nursing injuries picked up in Rio.

Meanwhile, Zifa communications officer Xolisani Gwesela has called on fans to come in their numbers and rally behind the Mighty Warriors.

“We appeal to all football lovers to come in their numbers and support our girls,” Gwesela said.

“This is an important preparatory match for them and its coming at a time when the two teams have been drawn together at the tournament in Cameroon later this year.”

Zifa have revealed that fans will pay $1 for the rest of the ground, $3 to watch from the Upper Grand Stand and $5 for a seat in the VIP arena.

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