MIGHTY Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi is worried about the delay in starting preparations by his team ahead of two crucial football competitions beginning next month. BY HENRY MHARA
The team is scheduled to travel to Tanzania on the weekend of March 4 to 6 for a 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AFWCON) first round first leg qualifier, before hosting the return match two weeks later.
Zimbabwe are also set to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics finals in Brazil in August.
But exactly a month before they begin their AFWCON campaign, there is nothing on the ground to suggest that the Mighty Warriors will play an important qualifier against a very formidable side.
A training camp that had initially been scheduled for them in Bulawayo at the start of last month was aborted at the last minute.
A friendly match against South Africa had been announced for end of January, but nothing materialised.
“Most teams are busy with their preparations since last year, but for us, it’s a different thing altogether,” Mlauzi said. “We prepared a roadmap, which we submitted to Zifa, which clearly showed our action plan, how we need to prepare for the two competitions. But there is nothing happening, and it’s something that is really worrying and frustrating.
“This is something that we can’t control as the technical team, so we are just waiting, and will do what they (Zifa) would have asked us to do.”
Africa’s other representative at the Olympics, South Africa, have been in camp since last year at the Nike Training Centre and only broke for the festive season.
They play Liverpool FC Ladies team in two friendly matches later this month.
“It’s not just South Africa, but the best teams like the United States, are in camp. They have the best players, way better than ours, but they still value the need to adequately prepare for tournaments like the Olympics,” the Mighty Warriors gaffer said.
Mlauzi has named a 40-member squad for the two competitions.
“Our players are very good. You can see when they play that there is so much quality, but the problem is most of them do not get adequate training. At the moment, there is no properly functioning league and most of these girls are not active.”
Zifa technical director, Takaendesa Jongwe yesterday said the team would be in camp soon.
“We are busy working on that at the moment. Logistics are being put in place so that they can start camp as soon as possible,” he said.
Should Zimbabwe progress past Tanzania, they will meet either Zambia or Namibia in the final qualifying round for the finals to be played in Cameroon from November 19 to December 3 this year.