‘Mighty Warriors ran out of legs’

Veronica Gwaze
MIGHTY WARRIORS coach Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda reckons her troops ran out of legs as they allowed Zambia to sneak into Africa Women Cup of Nations at Rufaro last Sunday.

Zimbabwe went into its final qualifier carrying a 1-0 advantage from the first leg, but were left in tears as the visitors won 2-1 and progressed to the finals on away goals. Barbra Banda scored the winner for Zambia in the 87th minute to break the hearts of locals.

A week after that disaster Sibanda looks back with a lot of regrets.

“Tactically I think we were composed, the girls linked up well. However, what we lacked was endurance in both matches,” she said.

“The Zambians had better endurance than us and that is one of the major reasons why we lost. We could not match their energy levels for the entire 90 minutes.

“If one is to look at the camping itself, we did not get enough time to be together as a team as opposed to our opponents who spent a considerable time in camp.”

Sibanda revealed that after the 1-0 win in Lusaka the Mighty Warriors’ technical team noted the team’s lack of endurance as a potential party spoiler.

However, there was little they could do about it as the return leg came 72 hours later. “We identified lack of fitness as our weakness in the first leg but with the little time we had we could only concentrate more on the tactical aspects because those can be worked on over a short period. The physical facet needs more time and we did not have the time.”

Despite the failure to make it to Ghana, where the finals will be held later this year, Sibanda still has faith in the current squad but warns that the way business is done needs to change.

“Our team is very strong and they are young age wise meaning they still have a future on the pitch; all they need is to be kept intact.

“Ideally we would want to have them coming for regular camps where we work on both the tactical  and fitness aspects

“We also need as many friendly matches as we can because these help us identify key areas that need to be worked on,” she said.

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