SAO PAULO – Zimbabwe women football team technical director Maxwell Takaendesa Jongwe has challenged his troops to stand and be counted when they take part in an invitational tournament in Uruguay this week.
The Mighty Warriors, who were invited for a five-team tournament that involves hosts Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina, transited through Brazil where they had an 11-hour stopover before proceeding in batches.
The team was scheduled to arrive in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo yesterday morning and will play their first game tomorrow.
Jongwe, former coach of CAPS United coach and the now defunct Kiglon, said while the tour was a learning curve, they are also using the platform to build a competitive team for future assignments.
The Mighty Warriors will be involved in important assignments which include the Africa Cup of Nations, World Cup and Olympic qualifiers next year and they are using every opportunity that arises to play matches and stay in shape.
“We are going there to learn but at the same time we also want to win matches. The girls should use this opportunity to expose themselves to international standards,” said Jongwe.
“This will also give us an opportunity to assess ourselves in as much as our development is concerned. Our last competitive match was against Botswana but it was a mismatch for us so playing one of the best teams in the world will give us a true reflection of our strength.
“We want to assemble a team that can beat anyone on the continent. It is unfortunate that we lost to Nigeria in Afcon qualifiers last time. I believe we are at par with those teams and we should be able to beat anyone.
“Next year we should be one of the teams playing in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament and this is where we want to start.”
Despite missing two of their influencial players, Rudo Neshamba and Rufaro Machingura, Jongwe believes they have capable replacements who are eager to make an impression.
“We camped for two weeks and we are looking sharp and ready to deliver. Those two strikers (Rudo and Rufaro) are integral part of the team but we have to do with what we have.
“The other guys that are the squad will with no doubt justify their inclusion into the team.”
Some of the regular faces that have been included in the team include Black Rhinos’ Rutendo Makore, Kuda Bhasopo and Patience Mujuru.
The Mufakose Queens trio of Onai Chingawo, RuvimboMutyavaviri and Emmaculate Msipa have also made it into the travelling squad. – Godknows Matarutse in Brazil