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– Chronicle

Only two teams stand between the Mighty Warriors and a ticket to the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations finals set for Morocco next year following a draw conducted in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday.

The Mighty Warriors begin their campaign against Eswatini and victory over the two-legged encounters will set up a date with either Botswana or Angola for the deciding match.

Coach Sithethelelwe ‘Kwinji 15’ Sibanda, while confident that her charges will sail through, said it would be folly to undermine Eswatini.

“ESwatini cannot be undermined, they have shown great improvement over the years. After this long lay off I am sure everyone will be happy to get back into action although its going to be a difficult match as players are a bit out of shape, but it’s manageable as this virus was a worldwide thing so we have to make sure we prepare the players to be able to manage the game,”

said Sibanda.

She will take solace in that the local women’s Super League matches will begin on June 15, which will provide the players with the much needed platform to regain fitness.

She is hopeful the Mighty Warriors will be given a chance to make their qualification job easier by being given enough time to train as a team.

“It’s achievable (qualification for the finals) as long as we can train as a team and make sure at least the team is ready to compete,”

said Sibanda.

The Africa Women’s Cup of Nations competition also serves as a qualifier for the Fifa Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023.

The Mighty Warriors last qualified for the women’s version of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2016 in Cameroon.

They reached the semi-finals on their debut appearance in 2000 and remains the team’s best performance.

Previously, Zimbabwe qualified for the continental stage on three occasions in the formative stages of women’s football in the country in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

Women Nations Cup draw

First round

M1 – Uganda v Ethiopia

M2 – Kenya v South Sudan

M3 – Eritrea v Burundi

M4 – Djibouti v Rwanda

M5 – Malawi v Zambia

M6 – Tanzania v Namibia

M7 – Zimbabwe v Eswatini

M8 – Angola v Botswana

M9 – Mozambique v South Africa

M10 – Algeria v Sudan

M11 – Egypt v Tunisia

M12 – Equatorial Guinea v DR Congo

M13 – Sao Tome and Principe v Togo

M14 – Congo v Gabon

M15 – Central African Republic v Cameroon

M16 – Sierra Leone v Gambia

M17 – Liberia v Senegal

M18 – Mali v Guinea

M19 – Guinea Bissau v Mauritania

M20 – Burkina Faso v Benin

M21 – Nigeria v Ghana

M22 – Niger v Cote d’Ivoire

Second Round

Winner M1 v Winner M2

Winner M3 v Winner M4

Winner M5 v Winner M6

Winner M7 v Winner M8

Winner M9 v Winner M10

Winner M11 v Winner M12

Winner M13 v Winner M14

Winner M15 v Winner M16

Winner M17 v Winner M18

Winner M19 v Winner M20

Winner M21 v Winner M22

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