Warriors On The Edge
18 October 2020
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A potential disaster is looming for the Mighty Warriors after it emerged the Women’s Soccer League was not aware of Zimbabwe’s participation at next month’s cosafa Championships.

After being suspended indefinitely owing to Covid-19, the women’s game in Southern Africa will resume with the 2020 cosafa Women’s Championship, which will be staged concurrently with the Girls Under-17 tournament, at the Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The tournaments will kick off on November 3 with the women’s tourney. They will be the first women’s internationals on the continent since the pandemic wreaked havoc on football and global sport.

While it is a welcome return to national team competition for cosafa nations, who have endured a frustrating 2020, it seems the Mighty Warriors are still in the dark about their participation at the tournament.

Women’s Soccer League chairperson Barbra Chikosi, who is widely accused of behaving like an “absentee landlady” by a number of women’s clubs, told The Sunday Mail Sport she had not received any communication about the championships.

“I am not even aware of the cosafa programme, whether the tournament has been confirmed or if the dates are out yet. I will have to talk to ZIFA and find out because I am in the dark,” she said.

Women’s football was granted US$500 000 from the US$1,5 million Covid-19 relief fund that ZIFA received from FIFA. The money is earmarked for the resumption of the women’s game.

According to a list compiled by ZIFA, Evelyn Rimai will be in charge of the Under-15s, while the Under-17 team will be headed by Thulani Sibanda. Rosemary Mugadza will be in charge of the Under-20s.

Sithethelelwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda will oversee the Mighty Warriors. Surprisingly, the coaches claim that although the list was released by ZIFA, the association is yet to officially communicate with them regarding the cosafa tournament.

Sibanda said he was unaware of preparations for the cosafa tournament. “Not sure if I am involved since ZIFA say they are yet to confirm our appointments. However, the truth is that we are not prepared,” he said.

“Body adaptations to training require six weeks, excluding the two weeks of muscle toning, but as an emergency measure, maybe players can be taught time-tapping for the matches. “This technique works for a single match though.

“Proper time is anything above eight weeks, but as coaches, if worse comes to worst, we may be forced to compromise.”

Mugadza, who too is waiting for confirmation and official communication regarding participation at the regional tournament, said the association needs to speed up their processes and get their charges in camp as soon as possible.

“I am not even sure if we are going to participate, because ZIFA is still quiet on the matter, and this at a time when we should be racing against time. 

“Remember, teams have not been active for months, and if we are to be part of the tournament, then it means we are behind. There is no time to waste,” she said.

Kwinji 15 confirmed to our sister paper The Herald that she was still in the dark. “I do not have any official communication from the office on whether we are playing or not, so the best people to talk to would be the office,” she said.

ZIFA communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela, however, said ZIFA had long confirmed Zimbabwe’s participation with the Cosafa secretariat.

“Yes, we confirmed participation for Under-17 and senior team in the upcoming cosafa tournaments. We will provide a detailed programme in the coming week (this week),’’ he said. -Sunday Mail