Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
NATIONAL Under-17 girls’ team coach Garthly Chipuka has emphasised the need for adequate preparations ahead of crucial matches after watching his side suffer a humiliating defeat by Botswana.
The Young Mighty Warriors were thrashed 5-0 in a preliminary World Cup qualifier in Botswana last week.
Before the humiliation, Chipuka had raised concern over the fitness levels of the girls and it was no surprise that they conceded four goals in the last 18 minutes of the game.
The team’s preparations for the game were shambolic as there was sometimes no transport to ferry them to their training ground and some players failed to get travelling documents, forcing the squad to delay its departure for Botswana.
Some players also reported late for camp as they were on holiday.
Despite the huge loss, Chipuka was pleased with the girls’ performance.
“When going into big games such as this one, preparation has to be on point.
“The Botswana team had been in camp for some time. Despite the loss the girls played well, but as you know football is all about scoring and getting the result. One is not rewarded for playing well. We will give it our best shot in the return leg,” said Chipuka.
“When we went to Botswana, we did not know anything about them, but now we have an idea of what we will be up against.
‘‘We have not thrown in the towel, we will do our best in the return leg to get a positive result,” he said.
The second leg of the tie will be played on January 26 at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.
Meanwhile, the Under-20 girls’ national team is also preparing for its World Cup qualifier against Malawi away this weekend.
The return leg is set for the weekend of January 31 to February 2 at Barbourfields Stadium.
Zifa entered both the Under-17 and Under-20 teams to participate in the World Cup qualifiers this year following a resolution by the association’s leadership that women’s football is a strong brand that deserves to be promoted from an early stage. – @innocentskizoe