Soccer: State of Women’s Football as Mighty Warriors Fail to Qualify for AWC

Women’s football boss Miriam Sibanda says the Mighty Warriors failure to qualify for the African Women Championships is a case of chickens coming home to roost. Back to back 0-1 defeats at the hands of Zambia cost the Mighty Warriors a ticket to the AWC finals set for Namibia later this year.

While some critics have chosen to blame Sibanda, who was elected in March, for the doomed campaign, the Twalumba FC director says the recent failure is a sign of a rot that started long before she got into office.

“From a technical point of view, the result against Zambia is the proverbial ‘chickens coming home to roost’ scenario.

State of Women’s Football as Mighty Warriors Fail to Qualify
“For the whole of last year, these girls who are supposed to be professional footballers, did not play any competitive football and there is no way they could have been expected to succeed on the international front.

“The players who are in the national team now are the same ones who were in the Under-20 team that did business during the era of Susan Chibhizhe.

“The question now is where are the junior players that were groomed by the previous executive?

“We need to rebuild our football from bottom to top and desist from the habit of concentrating on the national team when the local league is not running and there are no junior teams to speak of,” she said.

On the administrative front, Sibanda lobbied for a mind shift after a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League game between Caps United and Bantu Rovers was played at the National Sports Stadium on the same day the Mighty Warriors met Zambia at Rufaro.

“We need to take women’s football much more seriously,” she said. Apart from the long published intention to acquire offices, the Sibanda-led board is working on bringing their constitution in line with that of Zifa.

A draft development plan is also set to be submitted to the technical director, Maxwell Takaendesa Jongwe, for approval and implementation.

“We are also focusing on establishing standing committees because all this work cannot be done by a six-member national executive.
“In line with our rebranding initiative, we are proposing to rename ourselves as the Zimbabwe Women Football League to encompass the super leagues, the provincial and regional leagues that fall under us,” she said.

Sibanda added that they will also seek to increase the number of female football coaches in the country. “We have to train women referees and more women coaches. Unfortunately, with the previous executive all the attention was on the Mighty Warriors. You need equal attention if not more to the developmental stages to groom the future. As the current executive, ours is a broader approach that goes beyond the Mighty Warriors . . . it involves us getting girls as young as eight years,” she said.
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