Mighty Warriors 'washed away'

HARARE - Mighty Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi played down the significance of their 3-0 defeat to South Africa in an international friendly match here yesterday, saying his primary objective was to test some new faces before the team travels to Cameroon for Africa Women Cup of Nations.

A Thembi Kgatlana double either side of the half and Leandra Smeda’s goal were enough to condemn the Mighty Warriors, who were visibly not fit compared to their opponents.

The Mighty Warriors looked strained and vulnerable as they struggled to make an impact the whole afternoon.

Matters were also made worse after the heavens opened up in the second half which made the playing surface difficult for both teams.

DANCING IN THE RAIN: Mighty Warriors captain Talent Mandaza, centre, protects possession from Banyana Banyana's Leandra Smeda, left, and Refiloe Ojane during yesterday's match at the National Sports Stadium. Pic: Annie Mplaume

But the Mighty Warriors’ performance can, however, be understood given that they have only been in camp for less than a week.

Mlauzi had to try different combinations resting his regular players to pave way for some new players.

“We did not start with our best possible team so we wouldn’t read much into this game,” Mlauzi said after the match.

“We are going to work on certain areas and again the approach is not going to be the same. Today, we were trying different combinations and even the tactical formation, it was different.

“Time is no longer on our side but again these are the conditions that we need to work under so we will try in the remaining few days to do integrated sessions that include fitness as well as tactical and technical aspects.”

Mlauzi was quick to remind the South Africans that they should not judge Zimbabwe by yesterday’s performance when they square up against each other on November 19 at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé.

The Mighty Warriors are pooled in Group A at the tournament alongside African heavyweights and hosts Cameroon, South Africa and Egypt.

“If they think they have read our game today they have to think again because definitely we can up our game,” he said.

“But again, we are saying we need to work on some technical variations. So as we approach the game, we hope to be up there.”

On his team’s overall performance, Maluzi said: “Tactically, I think we were not spot-on today. We tried to fuse the experienced and a bit of the inexperienced guys,” he said.

“We were up against a team that is tactically disciplined and these are the areas that we need to work on, especially defensively as well as the offensive part. We really fell short, our attacks easily broke.

“And again, you could see the difference in terms of fitness. Our girls were far off so against a team that has been preparing for some time now, it was going to be a tall order. Apart from the fact we have had game time, there were really few positives from this game.

“We were never in it, maybe because of the short time that we have had with the players.”

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