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Mighty Warriors optimistic

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MIGHTY Warriors will host Botswana in the African Women’s Championships (ACW) first round second leg qualifier at Rufaro Stadium this afternoon, but coach Rosemary Mugadza is already looking beyond this fixture.

HENRY MHARA
Sports reporter

Zimbabwe carries a slender 1-0 lead going into the match after their victory in Gaborone a fortnight ago. Mugadza does not believe the visitors are capable of overturning that deficit.

In fact, she said her team will finish off the Lady Zebras and set a date with either Zambia or Tanzania in the second and final qualifying round for the ACW finals to be held in Namibia in October.

The Mighty Warriors did not break camp since returning from Botswana and have been preparing for the final battle.

“We are ready for the match. The players want to go through to the second round and I don’t see Botswana stopping us,” Mugadza said.

“We have prepared well and in terms of quality on the field, I think we are way better than them, so we should be able to progress to the next round. We respect them as our opponents, but I don’t think they can give us many problems,” she added.

If Zimbabwe progress as largely expected, they will likely meet Zambia who beat Tanzania 2-1 in Lusaka a fortnight ago. The two teams square off for the decisive match in Dar es Salam today.

“We are prepared to meet whoever wins that match. Our target is to qualify for the finals and it’s very achievable. We have a very good record against those teams and I am hoping it will continue.”

The last time the Mighty Warriors met Zambia last year in Lusaka, when Mugadza’s women won 4-1. Against Tanzania, in Da es Salam two years back, the Mighty Warriors won 5-0.

Mugadza welcomed back into the team strikers Rutendo Makore and Erina Jeke from injury. “I don’t have any injury worry. All the 25 players in camp are available for selection.”

Makore and Jeke will battle for places in the team with Violet Bepete, the scorer of the precious away goal in Gaborone, Rudo Neshamba, Kuda Bhasopo and Talent Mbepo.

Mugadza said two strikers will be dropped from the list when the final 18 is announced this morning.

The ACW finals, the women’s version of the men’s Africa Cup of Nations, serve as a qualification tournament for the 2015 Canada Fifa Women’s World Cup, with the top three teams going through.

Botswana arrived in the country on Wednesday ahead of the tie. Just like in the first leg match, they will be without star striker Thuto Ramafifi due to an injury.

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