The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Young Mighty Warriors Honoured

YOUNG Mighty Warriors coach Langton Giwa expressed satisfaction with his team's performance at the just-ended Zone VI Under-20 Games held in Zambia.Giwa was speaking on the sidelines of the

presentation of a donation by LM Auctioneers to the Young Mighty Warriors at Zifa House yesterday in recognition of their effort.

Zimbabwe were the defending champions in women's football and were hoping to make it a hat-trick of victories at these Games, but they lost to Zambia 2-0 in the final on Sunday.

LM Auctioneers donated T-shirts and some money to the team with each player getting US$100.

Giwa said they were affected by injuries during the tournament, but was impressed with the team's overall performance as three players -- captain Eunice Chibanda, Daisy Kaitano and Tafadzwa

Tsunguro -- named among the top 11 players from the region.

"Injuries affected us, in the final match we had to field six players with injuries, but that's football . . . you win some, lose some.

"I am happy that we went there and participated and won a silver medal. We also got the Fair Play award and three of our players were selected among the best 11 players of the tournament.

"I am happy with the way the girls played because we only got into camp for one week and we managed to come up with a team that won a medal and some of the girls are 16-years-old and they can still play in 2014," said Giwa.

The Young Mighty Warriors gaffer said there is need to start preparing for the 2014 Zone VI Games now.

Team captain, Chibanda, said they did their best to represent the nation at the Games in Zambia.

"We tried our best and won a silver medal. Some of the players were intimidated with the support Zambia had from their home fans and they were playing in front of so many people for their first time, and it that affected them," said Chibanda.

LM Auctioneers director, Lewis Muzhara, said it is important for the corporate world to support the team.

"I am happy the girls came out with something. It's very important that we have the corporate coming in and assisting the team. For three years we have been supporting women's soccer in this country. We have a cup tournament and we are hoping to make it a regional event," said Muzhara.

Meanwhile, the curtain came down on the Under-20 Zone VI Games in Zambia at the weekend where Zimbabwe finished eighth overall.

Zimbabwe, who have over the past editions enjoyed a respectable second position, dropped to eighth after sending a small team this time around and they could not stand the heat from countries such as South Africa, Namibia and the hosts Zambia who had fielded full teams.

The Games, which started on December 7, ended on Sunday with South Africa coming first with a total of 132 medals including 67 gold, while Namibia, with 65 medals, were second and Zambia settled for third place with 40 medals.

Zimbabwe sent a 60-member team of 42 athletes and 18 officials.

They fielded athletes in athletics, visually impaired athletics, women's football and swimming and got a total of 20 medals including three gold medals.

Zimbabwe got 10 medals from swimming, six medals in athletics (men).

They got three medals in the visually impaired athletics and a silver medal from women's football after the Young Mighty Warriors lost 2-0 to Zambia in the finals.

Chef de mission of Team Zimbabwe in Zambia, Joseph Muchechetere, said they were happy with the team's performance at the Games.

"In the previous years, Zimbabwe have always been number two except in South Africa in 2008 but because we sent a small team of 42 athletes and 18 officials, it was the smallest team we have sent in the history of the Zone Six Games.

"Other teams had managed to field a full quota which is 310 athletes and officials but Zimbabwe, because of financial constraints, were unable to send a team of that magnitude and with that team of 60 there was no way we could have beaten South Africa or Namibia.

"South Africa had 40 swimmers and they are a swimming powerhouse in Africa as well as Namibia. They were unchallenged because we did not have a full team there," said Muchechetere.

Zimbabwe will host the sixth edition of the Zone Six Games in 2014 and Muchechetere, who is also the Sports Commission director for sport development, called on the country to start preparing for the event.

"The major highlight for the Games was yesterday's (Sunday) closing ceremony where Zimbabwe was handed a flag of the Games.

"It was received by honourable Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, David Coltart, as a symbol and commitment to host the sixth edition of the Games.

"We signed the protocol agreement three weeks ago and we went further to receive the flag of the Games. We should say to the Government and Zimbabweans that such a project requires planning and we need to put our act together.

"We need to put in place the local organising committee as soon as possible and at the same time prepare the facilities.

"We need to pick our athletes now so that in 2014 we are able to challenge South Africa. I feel we should be in a position to reclaim our place taken by Namibia," said Muchechetere.

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