Zimbabwe look to COSAFA Women’s Championship to showcase talent

The COSAFA Women’s Championship continues to be a premier platform for female players in the region to showcase their talent, not least those in Zimbabwe who will be eager to claim a second title in Nelson Mandela Bay when the tournament is played from September 28-October 9.

Zimbabwe claimed the trophy in 2011, the only nation other than seven-time winners South Africa to lift the crown, and they followed that up with a visit to the Olympic Games in 2016.

It has led to a number of the country’s players winning contracts abroad, with the latest being goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai, who has signed for the Zambia Institute for Sustainable Development team on loan for a year.

She arrived from Correctional Queens, having been given the green light from Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services to pursue her career with her new team.

Dzingirai won the Golden Glove at the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship that was hosted in Bulawayo, though she could not help her side to the title as they were pipped in the final by South Africa.

Correctional Queens hope that the move to Zambia is the first of many for players as it will aid in their development and, ultimately, push the Mighty Warriors to greater heights.

“We are excited to begin such a groundbreaking collaboration with Zambia Institute of Sustainable Development women’s soccer team in the hope of creating a pipeline of opportunities for our players, coaching staff, and the two institutions at large,” Queens General Secretary Arthur Gorejena was quoted by The Herald.

“With non-active women’s soccer, it is important to continue to guide jealously some of our best talent when such opportunities arise to keep the girl child in sport.”

She becomes the latest player from the squad to play their trade outside of Zimbabwe, with the recent move of national team midfielder Danai Bhobho to Tanzania champions Simba SC another example.

Earlier in the year, Emmaculate Msipa secured a move to Spanish second-tier side Joventut Almassora, while Rutendo Makore has also previously played in that country, though she is now back in Zimbabwe.

South Africa are the perfect example of how a team can improve with a number of players abroad as they play in more competitive competitions and with a higher level of training.

And the COSAFA Women’s Championship can provide that ticket with a number of scouts focussed on the competition in the search for the best emerging female talent from the region.

Zimbabwe have been drawn in Group B at this year’s competition, along with familiar foes Botswana, as well as two guest nations, Tanzania and South Sudan. Only the top team in each pool and the best runner-up advance to the semifinals.

Mighty Warriors coach Sithethelelwe Sibanda says she is pleased with the draw for her side.

“It’s a very fair draw, I just hope we can get the ball rolling immediately because, in the end, it all goes down to preparations, especially considering that we have been out of action, for quite some time,” Sibanda said recently, adding South Sudan would provide something of the unknown.

“I am going to research more about them but I know women’s football is on its prime there and they recently concluded their season so we will have to probably analyse a few games and assess their level.”