YOUNG Mighty Warriors striker Rufaro "Mafidi" Machingura returned to national team action in style when she fired a brace as the hosts ran riot against Young Mambas in a Fifa Under-20 World Cup, first round, first leg qualifier at Rufaro yesterday.
The giant striker last featured for Zimbabwe during the Cosafa Championships in July last year, scoring five goals in a single match against Malawi before scoring the winning goal against South Africa as the hosts lifted the regional trophy for the first time and ended their dominance by neighbours Banyana Banyana.
Machingura however, fell out of favour with the senior team coaches due to disciplinary problems.
Yesterday she was back in the team that gave her the platform to play in the Mighty Warriors- the Under-20 side.
Machingura did not disappoint her Under-20 coach Langton Giwa as she fired a brace either side of half time to ensure the Young Mighty Warriors take a comfortable lead into the second leg in Maputo in two weeks time.
The Aces striker , who later turned villain when being sent off nine minutes from time, opened the scoring in the second minute when she fired past a withdrawn Mozambican keeper. Substitute Elizabeth Chaparangana added a second goal in the 37th minute, 12 minutes after she had came in for Nomusa Bizecki.
But Zimbabwe were not yet finished and defensive midfielder Emmaculate Msipa added a third six minutes after the breather, when she sent a powerful left foot drive into the nets. Machingura then completed her brace in the 56th minute when she headed home off a cross from Rutendo "Madzimai" Makore and it was party time for the Under-20 side, was playing their first competitive match since winning the Sadc Zone VI Games in Swaziland in December 2010.
The team, which was on the receiving end of a 4-0 defeat by South Africa in a friendly two weeks ago has shown signs of improvement and are now a sure bet to advance to the second round.
Machingura will, however miss the return leg in Mozambique after being given her marching orders by Ugandan referee Aisha Ssemambo for violent conduct and crude tackle on a Mozambican defender.
Mozambican coach Carlos Manuel who claimed he is looking more into the future than immediate results hailed the hosts for winning.
"Firstly, I would like to congratulate Zimbabwe, they played well. It's a new team and we are building. This was our first international game and we hope in the second match we will do our best. This is our team for the future," said Manuel.
His Zimbabwean counterpart Giwa said he was happy with the result though he was "not satisfied by the performance of the team".
"We started slowly but in the second half there was a change. They were trying to match the play of the visitors and not doing what we have been practising at training. There is still some work to do for the team to really gel but we are getting there.
"I am happy with the result and looking forward to the return leg. I was also not amused by the way the girls conducted themselves in the last minutes as they were relaxed after taking a healthy lead, they should know that they have to continue playing until the final whistle," said Giwa.
The Young Mighty Warriors who had a decent second half could have even won by a wider margin but Makore and Rudo Neshamba took turns to spurn chances.
Neshamba, who leads the line of attack in the Mighty Warriors, failed to shine in the junior team and wasted a lot of chances and on many occasions did the obvious with her efforts not troubling the goalkeeper.
But defensive midfielder Msipa one of the Mighty Warriors players still eligible for the age group, stamped her authority in the middle of the park exuding confidence and provided guidance and was duly rewarded with a goal.
Young Mighty Warriors midfielder, Mavis Chirandu, who turns out for a provincial side Bindura Auckland showed why she made it into the team which boasts of national league clubs players as she drove the left side of the midfield with the aplomb of a veteran.
A decent crowd for paying fans watched the match and the only dent to the carnival atmosphere at Rufaro was during halftime when an Airforce of Zimbabwe paratrooper was injured after landing awkwardly on the artificial turf at the stadium and had to be rushed to the hospital.
Zimbabwe: P. Mukucha, E. Chibanda, F. Chasi, R. Jongondi, E. Msipa, D. Bhobho, N. Bizeki(E. Chaparangana 25th minute), M. Chirandu, R. Neshamba, R. Makore(B. Soko 74th minute), R. Machingura.
Mozambique: L. Joadwin, L. Mozambique, L. Monivo, G. Silvino, A. Ngale, B. Antonio, E. Malaita, L. Joadwina, J. Joadwina, G. Nhvane, G. Jamal.