THE Zimbabwe senior women’s football team would need mental toughness when they enter the Accra Sports Stadium tomorrow for the All-Africa Games first leg qualifier against Ghana after the Ghana Football Association (GFA) yesterday announced that fans will watch the match for free.
Kick-off time is 6pm Zimbabwe time.
The Mighty Warriors team left the country on Wednesday afternoon and were expected to arrive in the Ghana capital yesterday afternoon after a stop-over in Ethiopia.
The team was expected to go straight for their first training session upon arrival before getting a feel of the match venue this afternoon ahead of this very crucial encounter.
It appears their hosts are making all efforts to make sure they get a positive result before the reverse fixture in Harare in a fortnight.
Reports from Accra yesterday suggested that GFA would allow fans free entrance to the match and expect a bumper crowd that would create an intimidating environment to unsettle the visitors.
In a statement, the GFA spokesman Ibrahim Sannie Daara announced: “The Accra Sports Stadium will open its doors to the public for free as the Black Queens seek an emphatic victory over the Zimbabweans. The goodwill gesture from the Youth and Sports ministry and the GFA is in line with the decision to boost support for the Black Queens for their qualifying matches.”
“The ministry and the GFA are moving to mobilise full support for the Black Queens and women football in general hence the decision to grant free admission to Saturday’s game. We have all got a stake in this and we must encourage the Queens to go and make the country proud with the full backing of the home fans.”
Ghana, one of the powerhouses in continental football, has played several friendly matches as part of preparation for the two matches while the Mighty Warriors have been in camp for 10 days.
Daara said the Ghanaian side was in high spirit ahead of tomorrow’s match and the coaches of the side had assured Ghanaians of a quality squad that will confront Zimbabwe.
Mighty Warriors’ head of delegation for the trip Cecilia Gambe, who is Women Football’s board member competitions, said her team was in exuberant mood after the players were given all their allowances for this tie.
“I think we have done our part from our side and it is now left for the girls to deliver. The team members were given their allowances and we now expect them to do their part,” Gambe told our sister paper NewsDay Sport shortly before the team flew off.
“The spirits are high and I can see that the girls are looking forward to the match,” she added.
In naming her travelling squad, Coach Rosemary Mugadza stuck to the team that took part in recent qualifiers with the exception of two players Bongani Sibanda and Morlene Murandu who would be looking for their first Mighty Warriors caps.
Defenders Melody Musasa, Rutendo Makore and Ruvimbo Mutyavaviri are notable absentées from the team that travelled to Ghana.
While sounding very confident of a favourable result, but the Mighty Warriors have bad memories of their recent encounters with West African opposition.
The Mighty Warriors and their junior counterparts suffered huge losses against Nigeria in the 2012 African Women’s Championships and the Under-20 World Cup qualifiers, Mugadza said her side would look to change that history.
“West Africans have proved to be bogey sides for us in recent times, but we need to try and change that,” Mugadza said.
“We need to believe. We are in a different moment. We have learned from the games we have played against fellow West Africans. We now know how they play and we have prepared well,” she added.
Mighty Warriors squad:
Chido Dzingirai, Patience Mujuru, Chido Muhara, Rufaro Machingura, Bongani Sibanda, Emmaculate Msipa, Felistas Muzongondi, Marjory Nyaumwe, Erina Jeke, Samukeliswe Zulu, Mavis Chirandu, Moleen Murandu, Rudo Neshamba, Nobuhle Majika, Rejoyce Kapfumvuti, Deliwe Makaha, Sheila Makoto, Violet Bepete.