The Zimbabwe soccer queens yesterday booked a place into the next round of the CAF Women Championships qualifiers, whose finals are to be staged in Equatorial Guinea, when they overcame Botswana 3-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round 2nd leg tie at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg in Gaborone two weeks ago, the Mighty Warriors were expected to crush the female Zebras at home, but it wasn't to be. If anything, Zimbabwe ladies needed to summon all their brilliance to come from a goal down.
Botswana shocked the hosts by going ahead in the 21st minute through Thuto Ramafifi. At that point the match was level at 1-1 and the Mighty Warriors were staring a penalty shoot-out unless they put their act together.
Recovering from a goal down is what the Zim ladies did, and they did that in style in the second half. Gangle defender restored parity for Zimbabwe seven minutes after the break, scoring with a long range shot which beat Peggy Segokgo in Botswana goals.
Still the visitors dominated exchanges to the dismay of many at Rufaro, probably because of the unnecessary changes brought to the team by coach Rosemary Mugadza.
Striker Erina Jeke settled the Zimbabwe nerves when she gave the hosts the lead when she connected a Tsitsi Mairosi cross from the right on 85 minutes. Jeke had fluffed a glorious chance to put the Mighty Warriors ahead on 78 minutes.
It was a victory for the Warriors, but not in the prettiest ways, but as they say there is no ugly goal and there is no ugly win. Coach Mugadza summed it well during post match interview.
"We didn't play well in the first half but I am happy with the team's performance. The most important thing is to win a match whether we played well or badly," Mugadza said.
The coach should take flak for benching players who did fairly well in Gaborone two weeks ago, but during the interview she tried to defend herself.
"I give my players instructions at training and if they don't implement them on the pitch, it is not my fault as I cannot go on and play," Mugadza argued.
Now the team has to play much better when they play Nigeria's Falcons in the first round proper of the qualifiers. The Falcons are beatable, only if the Mighty Warriors adopt a correct attitude.
The problem with the Mighty Warriors is that their recent good form gets to the players' heads and they sometimes play with a bit of complacence. That explains their dismal performances at the All-Africa games.