THE senior national women’s football team surrendered a two goal lead to lose 2-3 to Egypt in an international friendly match at the 6 October Stadium in Cairo yesterday.
HENRY MHARA IN CAIRO, EGYPT
The match was, however, marred by what Mighty Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza described as “atrocious” officiating.
The visitors finished the match with a player short after star midfielder Merjury Nyaumwe was shown a red from what appeared to be a clean tackle on an Egyptian defender in the 80th minute.
A minute later, the local referee who appeared determined to see Egypt winning the match at all costs, awarded a controversial penalty which gave the hosts an undeserved victory.
Zimbabwe, using the match to prepare for their African Women’s Championships first round qualifying match against Botswana next month, raced into the lead three minutes into the match when striker Violet Bepete bundled the ball home from a rebound after Nokuthula Ndlovu’s shot had rebounded off the cross bar.
The Mighty Warriors were two-nil up and cruising on eight minutes when defender Enas Mostafa directed a Nobuhle Majika cross into her own nets.
However, two mistakes by the Zimbabwean goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai brought Egypt back into the match.
First, she allowed what looked like a harmless shot from Engi Ehia to sneak on her near post on 38th minute, which was Egypt’s first shot at goal.
Dzingirai’s miscued clearance five minutes later fell on Ehia who expertly lobbed over the goalkeeper to level the scores going into the break.
Zimbabwe continued to dominate play in the second half, but were frustrated by the whistle-happy referee who was blowing at every contact.
Yellow cards rained on the visitors, six of the players cautioned in a space of 10 minutes and eventually a red on Nyaumwe.
Egypt was given a penalty when defender Patience Mujuru was adjudged to have brought down Salva Manso inside the box and the striker dusted herself to send Dzingirai the wrong way.
The two teams are set to face off again on Saturday, but the match is now in doubt.
Women’s football boss Mavis Gumbo, who is the head of delegation, said she would not allow the team to play unless she was given assurances by her counterparts that the match officials “would be fair”.