Mighty Warriors sneak through

BULAWAYO - Hosts Zimbabwe have qualified for the semi-finals of the ongoing Cosafa Women’s Championship as the best runners-up in the three groups after Kenya beat Swaziland 1-0 yesterday.

The Mighty Warriors had finished second in their Group A behind leaders Zambia with seven points following a disappointing 3-3 draw with Malawi on Sunday.

With only group winners qualifying automatically for the semi-finals, Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda’s ladies were now waiting with fingers crossed to get the remaining last-four slot as the best second-placed side.

Kenya answered the Mighty Warriors’ prayer by beating Swaziland to ensure that Zimbabwe would end up as the best runners-up.

Ironically, the Mighty Warriors will now meet the East Africans in the last four while in the other semi-final South Africa face Zambia here on Thursday.

Turning to yesterday’s match, Kenya, who had already won the group, dominated the entire match as they played one of their best games of the tournament thus far.

The East Africans had the better ball possession throughout the match but found the Swaziland defence resolute.

Swaziland goalkeeper Sukoluhle Zibandze, who was subsequently named the man-of-the-match, made a number of crucial saves.

Zibandze denied the Kenyans on numerous occasions and if it was not for her they could have lost by a dozen goals.

However, Zibandze was finally beaten in the third minute of added time when Kenyan midfielder Mercy Achieng scored with a brilliant chip.

By that time, the East Africans had raked in a number of numerous shots at goal and it was looking like they would never score.

Kenya coach Richard Mwangi Kanyi thought they managed to contain their opponents to win.

“The match was a tactical game. Swaziland came in to win the game and I also came in to win the game. We controlled their movement. We managed to contain them in the second half,” said Kanyi.

Swaziland coach Mduduzi Nxumalo said: “I think we tried our best. The game had a lot at stake. Maybe for us our plan was to qualify for the next stage but we didn’t qualify.”

Swaziland needed to win the match in order to pip the Mighty Warriors to reach the semi-finals as the best runners-up.

In the other dead rubber group B match played across town at Luveve Stadium, Mozambique beat Mauritius 3-0.

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