With just over a month before the 12th edition of the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWC) tournament kicks off in Cameroon, the Zimbabwe senior women’s football team is yet to begin preparations. BY HENRY MHARA
The biennial showcase will be held in Yaoundé between November 19 and December 3.
Zimbabwe are one of the eight teams that qualified for the AWC and were drawn in Group A together with hosts Cameroon, Egypt and neighbours South Africa.
Group B contains defending champions Nigeria, Ghana, Mali and Kenya.
The Mighty Warriors open their account against South Africa at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé on November 19 before facing Egypt three days later.
They complete their group matches against Cameroon on November 25 with the top two teams proceeding to the quarter-finals.
But barely 43 days to the start of the tournament, there are no plans in place for the Mighty Warriors to start camp.
Coach Shadreck Mlauzi yesterday said he proposed to Zifa to have the team in camp this weekend, but the association said they did not have the resources.
“We have drawn up our plan and now we are waiting to hear from our bosses. We expect to check in camp this weekend, but we haven’t heard anything as yet,” said Mlauzi.
“Obviously when things don’t work according to plan, we are not happy. We are just keeping our fingers crossed that something will happen. I’m hoping that corporates can come to the rescue because sometimes we put too much pressure on the association. We can’t put blame on them because of the economic environment,” added Mlauzi.
The Mighty Warriors played a hastly-arranged friendly match against Egypt last month, which they won 2-1. However, Mlauzi used a makeshift side after some league teams declined to release their players for national duty.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela yesterday said the association was working flat out to ensure that the team gets enough preparations for the AWC.
“We are arranging friendly matches and we are in discussion with Zambia, Kenya, Namibia and other teams when the team gets to Cameroon,” he said. “We are having financial challenges, but we are hoping to sort out something before the start of the tournament,” he said.
While the Mighty Warriors are yet to start camp, all the other participants, including debutants Kenya, have started their preps.