Johannesburg — THE Mighty Warriors shared the spoils with Banyana Banyana yesterday at Sinaba Stadium to round off their two international matches here in style.
The Zimbabweans, who lost the first match 1-0 at Dobsonville on Saturday night, made sure that they did not return home-empty handed as they gave the hosts a good run. The South Africans are preparing for the Nations Cup which begins on October 28 in Equatorial Guinea. The Cosafa champions were the first to draw blood in the seven minute when Zimbabwe striker Rudo Neshamba headed home off a cross by Felistas Muzongondi from the right.
Midfielder Marjoury Nyaumwe had started a nice move when she drove acres of space and left her marker for dead to lay a perfect pass to Muzongondi, who captained the team yesterday. The visitors were enjoying their game and were all over the London Olympic Games' finalists and it appeared it was Zimbabwe's day as goalkeeper, Chido Dzingirai, who got the nod ahead of skipper Onai Chingawo saved a penalty from Banyana Banyana's Portia Modise.
In the 52nd minute the referee awarded the hosts a penalty after adjudging that Mighty Warriors defender Danai Bhobho had elbowed Sanah Mollo. However, the Flame Lily goalminder calmed her nerves and dived to the right to safely collect the spot kick from Modise. Banyana leveled terms in the 70th minute when Silindile Ngubane punished the Zimbabwe defence, which had battled to clear the ball out of safety.
Interestingly, Ngubane, who came in the second half, was also behind Banyana Banyana's solitary goal in the opening match when her cross was headed home by skipper Amanda Dlamini. Her introduction increased the tempo of the hosts' attacks as Banyana camped in Zimbabwe's half. Mighty Warriors midfielder, Muzongondi, saw her header in the 82nd minute ruled out for offside after she had received a cross from Neshamba.
And four minutes later, Mighty Warriors' striker Rutendo Makore watched in agony as her close-range was saved by the 'keeper, Thokozile Mndaweni. The South Africans will leave for Cameroon today to play their last friendly match on their way to West Africa for the Nations Cup. Banyana Banyana coach, Joseph Mkhonza, said they had a good assessment yesterday before playing their opening match against Equatorial Guinea next Sunday.
"We last played a football match at the Olympics and Saturday was our first match and today (yesterday) was our second game.
"The level of fitness is still very low and now we know what to work on and what we have to do. We are not yet ready for the tournament.
"We chose to play Zimbabwe as they are one of the strongest sides in the Southern region and they always give us a challenge.
"Zimbabwe have improved since we last played them in December and they are improving with each passing game," said Mkhonza.
Mighty Warriors' coach, Rosemary Mugadza, said she was pleased with the display by her charges. "We played well compared to our first match. We had our chances and, at least, the strikers did well today.
"We scored a goal, which was disallowed, and our general performance was good. At least, we gave them competitive practice ahead of the Afcon," said Mugadza.
South Africa: T. Mndaweni, Z. Cele, J. Wyk, L. Mabatle, N. Vilakazi,R. Jane, A. Dlamini(Y. Jafta 75th minute), G. Hlumbane(L. Smeda 55th minute), S. Mollo(S. Ngubane 57th minute), A. Mgcoyi(J. Seoposenwe 59th minute), P. Modise(N. Matlou 78th minute).
Zimbabwe: C. Dzingirai, R. Mutyavaviri, P. Mujuru, D. Bhobho, E. Chibanda, T. Mandaza, M. Nyaumwe, N. Ndlovu (E. Jeke 68th minute), F. Muzongondi, R. Neshamba, R. Makore.