MIGHTY Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza said she will not only use the forthcoming four- country tournament in Lesotho to assess her team, but also to measure her opponents ahead of the 2014 African Women’s Championships qualifiers set to begin early next year.
The tournament, which is expected to begin next week in Maseru, will involve Zimbabwe, the hosts, Botswana and Swaziland.
But it is Zimbabwe’s western neighbours that Mugadza would be much interested in.
Mugadza’s team were last month drawn to play Botswana in the first round qualifier of the 2014 African Women’s Championships which will also serve as a qualification tournament for the 2015 Canada Fifa Women’s World Cup.
She believes this would be a chance to assess her team’s fitness levels as the players have been largely inactive this year after the annulment of the women’s league and the Cosafa Women’s Championships.
But more importantly, she said this will be an opportunity to spy on Botswana ahead of the two teams’ African Women’s Championships first-leg qualifying meeting in Gaborone on the weekend of February 13-15.
“It will be good for us to see how Botswana has improved since the last time we faced each other. Botswana’s league started a month ago and unlike us, they will be better prepared and in a better condition in terms of shape and fitness,” Mugadza said.
The last time the Mighty Warriors team met their Botswana counterparts was on December 22 last year in a match the Mighty Warriors comfortably won 5-0.
“This tournament is part of the set of preparations we have put in place for the Afcon qualifiers. Even though our league is not running, I’m happy that our local teams have been engaging each other on almost weekly basis so the players’ fitness conditions are not bad at all,” Mugadza added.
Mugadza is set to travel to Maseru without some of the regulars.
Star striker Rudo Neshamba and defender Rhoda Jongoti have excused themselves to write examinations while Rutendo Makore is out injured.
Midfielder Nokuthula Ndlovu has also excused herself for personal reasons.
In their place, Under-17 star Grata Bande of Vainona High School has been called up, and so are Young Mighty Warriors players, Tafadzwa Tsunguro and Kudzanai Chiparawushe of Aces Youth Academy and Sibonginkosi Nleya Inline Academy.
First senior national team call-ups for Margret Kawinga of Chipembere Queens and Cyclone Queens’ Lindiwe Magwede would be on.
Zimbabwe has a good chance of qualifying for the Africanchampionship finals set for Namibia. Should they progress past Botswana in the first round which should not be a big problem.
Mighty Warriors will meet the winner between Zambia and Tanzania in the final qualifying round in May — two teams that Mugadza and her ladies have easily beaten before.