Zimbabwe’s chances of progressing to the next round of the Cosafa Women’s Championships now hangs in the balance after playing out a 3-3 draw against Malawi in their group encounter on Sunday.
By SportBrief Reporter
The Mighty Warriors, after being held to a costly 3-3 draw against Malawi, will now wait on the results of the match between Kenya and Swaziland to decide their fate.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s 7-1 hammering of Madagascar at Barbourfields sees the Shepolopolo stroll into the semi-finals of the tournament as they finish Group A on seven points.
On the other hand, the Mighty Warriors failure to beat Malawi means that they now sit in second place with five points, two points behind Zambia and will now have to depend on being the best runners-up to pregress to the semi-finals.
That means the chances of the hosts’ qualifying will now hinge on how things play out between Kenya and Swaziland on Monday afternoon. If the former beats the latter then Zimbabwe will go through as the best runners up but even a draw between the two sides would still see the Mighty Warriors through.
Although the results were below expectations, the hosts’ star striker Rutendo Makore’s form was a rare positive as she netted a hat-trick to add to her impressive goal-haul which now stands at an outstanding eight-goals.
The in-form Makore broke the deadlock in the 21st minute with a left-footer from inside the penalty box. Ten minutes later, she was at it again after dribbling past Malawi central defender Eluby Botoman and blasting the ball past goalkeeper Martha Banda.
However, Malawi responded just before the break when Temwa Chawinga slotted a cool finish that had the beating of goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai.
In the 57th minute, Makore extended the Mighty Warriors lead as she expertly placed a shot from well outside the box to earn her hat-trick. But the hosts just could not hold on to the lead as they allowed Malawi to score two goals and earn a draw.
Mighty Warriors’ coach Sithethelelwe Sibanda lamented her defence after the match as she rued their uneasiness against the Malawian forwards.
“Overally it was a great game, but there was a lot of panic among the defenders, especially on Tabitha. At times when she was stepping to receive the ball, they (the defenders) would panic. Decision-making was a bit poor on the defence line and we allowed them back in the game by the soft goal that we presented in the first half,” she said.