19 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Mighty Warriors in Camp

MIGHTY Warriors key strikers, Rudo Neshamba and Rufaro Machingura, have been ruled out of the tour of Uruguay scheduled for early next month and are not part of the squad which began training this weekend.

Neshamba is now playing for Botswana league side Double Action, and could not make it in time to prepare together with the team and complete the travel formalities.

Black Rhinos striker Machingura has not heeded the call for national duty.

The visa formalities for the team are being processed in Pretoria as the South American country doesn't have an embassy here.

The duo have played a crucial role for Zimbabwe in the past assignments and their absence may have an impact on the team which would be featuring in a five-team tournament against the hosts, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

However, all is not lost as experienced strikers Rutendo "Madzimai" Makore, who scored a brace against Botswana in the Unity Day Challenge Cup, Flame Lily Queens' Erina Jeke and Black Rhinos' Queens Kuda Basopo are in camp.

Yesterday, Zimbabwe senior women's soccer team coach, Rose Mugadza, after going through paces with the team at Barclays Sports Club, said the players who are off-season were not far off the mark in terms of fitness levels.

"All the other players are in camp except for Rufaro (Machingura) and Rudo (Neshamba). Rufaro said she had personal problems to attend to and we are expecting her to join others today.

"As for Rudo, she is now playing in Botswana and considering the little time we had we excused her.

"The training is going on well and the fitness level is not bad considering that the league hasn't started. Most of the clubs have been training twice a week so the players are not very behind," said Mugadza.

The coach said they want to assess their performance as a team and see whether they were improving.

"Obviously we are excited to be playing teams from South America as they are some of the better ranked teams in the world. As a team, we want to see whether we are improving. "We have also roped in some young players who were in the national Under-20 team because we want to develop other players so that the future remains bright for the Mighty Warriors.

"We are happy that some youngsters are gradually graduating into the senior team and are doing very well," said Mugadza.

The former Mighty Warriors skipper said they are also using the tournament to prepare for the upcoming tournaments such as this year's Cosafa Cup.

Zimbabwe are the current holders of the regional Cup, which they won on home soil in 2011, after beating neighbours South Africa 1-0 at Rufaro.

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