ZIMBABWE’S Mighty Warriors have begun their camp ahead of the 2021 COSAFA Women’s Championship where they will hope to claim a second regional crown in South Africa when the competition is played from 28 September to 9 October.
The team is once again led by coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda, but they have not played a match since a disappointing first round exit at the 2020 championship that was held at Nelson Mandela Bay.
Sibanda has included eight players from Black Rhinos Queens in her preliminary squad, including veteran forward Rutendo Makore, who was one of the stars of the side when they played in the recent Total Energies CAF Women’s Champions League COSAFA Qualifiers.
Black Rhinos Queens were runners-up in that competition and Makore won the Player of the Tournament accolade and goalkeeper Precious Mudyiwa, who is also in the Mighty Warriors squad, claimed the Golden Glove.
Sibanda will hope that experience will lift her players as they use the COSAFA Women’s Championship to also prepare for next month’s 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Zimbabwe will face Eswatini in the first round of the preliminaries, and if they advance, they will take on the winner of the tie between Botswana and Angola.
The Mighty Warriors have always been a competitive side in the regional competition and finally broke their duck with victory in 2011, which ended South Africa’s fine run of success in the tournament.
They reached the final in the inaugural competition in 2002 but lost to South Africa 2-1 in the decider in Harare. They had stormed into the final with four straight wins in which they scored a staggering 36 goals, including a then competition record 15-0 victory over Lesotho in their opener.