What a cruel and haunting way to end a campaign on the first day it started. As the fans left the stadium they could be seen shaking their heads in disbelief not only on a dream shattered but also on the magnitude of the defeat.
The defeat left the Under 20 side all but out of the running for a place at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the return leg in Lagos, Nigeria, will serve no purpose for Zimbabwe cannot be expected to overturn such a huge margin after losing at home and in front of their own fans.
Even coach Langton Giwa admitted the Mighty Warriors’ chances of going through to the next stage are almost nil, “We have lost to a a far much better side. Our chances of going through are very slim but in football anything can happen. We have seen where we fell short and will
try to work on that,” said Giwa.
The Mighty Warriors had expected to take a commanding lead ahead of the return match in two weeks ago, and word that the Nigerians had not trained together boosted their confidence but come the match, the Zimbabweans were no match for a more oiled and more fluid Nigerians who dominated the match from start to finish.
For the Zimbabweans, the Mighty Warriors were slow to the ball and lost possession un-necesarily. Their defence leaked like a sieve, there was no creativity in midfield as Kudakwashe Basopo and Elizabeth Chaparangana failed to contain the Nigerians’ slick passing and hard running while upfront there was no sting as chief striker Rutendo Makore never had a shot at goal as there was no service from the midfield.
While the Nigerians are looking forward to another Olympic Games after having not missed the finals since 2002, for Zimbabwe elimination is a bitter pill to swallow since this is the first time that the Mighty Warriors have been knocked out in the first round of such major tournaments.With no other serious international engagements for women’s football, the Mighty Warriors will now have to wait for another four years before they can take part again in a serious international engagement like the Olympic Games.