By Sports Reporter
The Mighty Warriors have been handed what looks a gentle draw in the pool stages of the 2018 Cosafa Women’s Championship that will be staged in Port Elizabeth, South Africa from September 12 to 22.
Zimbabwe‚ who were runners-up last year on home soil, will face-off against Swaziland, Uganda and Namibia in Group C while defending champions South Africa headline Group A which includes Botswana‚ Madagascar and Malawi.
Group B contains Zambia‚ who piped Zimbabwe for the ticket to this year’s Africa Women’s Cup of Nations‚ Central African guest nation Cameroon‚ Lesotho and Mozambique.
Cameroon are ranked third on the African continent after Nigeria and Ghana‚ and their inclusion in the field this year will certainly add some intrigue.
Only the top three teams and the best runner-up advance to the semifinals.
Zimbabwe, who won the regional tournament in 2011 on home soil, will be hoping to atone for their failure to qualify for this year’s 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations that gets under way in Ghana in November.
The Mighty Warriors recently played a friendly match against Mozambique where coach Sithethelelwe Sibanda had an opportunity to assess some of the team’s fringe players in preparation for the Cosafa tournament.
Zimbabwe emerged victorious with a 6-2 win over their hosts in Beira courtesy of a brace by Mavis Chirandu while Marjory Nyaumwe, Maudy Mafuruse and Concilia Madotsa also weighed in with a goal each
While Zimbabwe are yet to finalise their squad for the regional tournament, defending champions and hosts South Africa have already shown their intent after naming all of their overseas-based players‚ including the Houston Dash trio of captain Janine van Wyk‚ Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo.
Banyana Banyana will be using the tournament to prepare for the crucial 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations which will serve as qualifiers for the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup in France.
The first Cosafa Women’s Championship was held in Zimbabwe in 2002 and was won by South Africa, who beat their hosts 2-1 in the final.
Four years later and the South Africans triumphed again at the finals in Zambia, when they beat Namibia 3-1 in the decider. South Africa then made it three in a row when they beat Zimbabwe in the finals of the 2008 tournament in Malange, Angola.
Zimbabwe then claimed the title in 2011, when they also acted as hosts, defeating South Africa 1-0 in the final.
Banyana Banyana got their revenge in Bulawayo 12 months ago though as they ran out 2-1 winners, their fourth trophy win in five events.