Zimbabwe’s Mighty Warriors crashed out of the Africa Women Cup of Nations after they slumped to yet another Group A defeat, this time at the hands of hosts Cameroon at Stade Ahmed Ahidjo here yesterday.
The Mighty Warriors, reeling from a controversial refereeing decision that robbed them of at least a point in their 0-1 defeat by Egypt, went into the match against the already qualified hosts needing nothing short of a win to keep their hopes live.
Zimbabwe’s controversial defeat by Egypt had also complicated matters for them as they had to depend on the outcome of the other Group A match between South Africa and Egypt in Limbe with the hope that the result favoured them.
But as early as the opening minute, the Mighty Warriors hopes of squeezing through to the last four were had taken a huge dent after Cameroon, who were backed a by a huge home crowd, surged through winger and double scorer Michelle Akaba.
Akaba latched to a ball wide on the right, beat her defender, Sheila Makoto with pace before picking her spot to squeeze a low shot between an advancing Chido Dzingirai and the upright post.
Zimbabwe’s defence was not convincing on the afternoon and they were further exposed five minutes after resumption when Indomintable Lioness forward Deborah Enganamouit, subtracted Danai Bhobho, burst into the box with defenders Nobuhle Majika and Nobuhle Majika in desperate purist before setting up Akaba to complete her brace.
Mighty Warriors coach Shadreck Mlauzi made four changes to the team that fell to Egypt, handing starts to his former skipper Felistas Muzongondi, Emmaculate Msipa, Sheila Makoto and Nobukhosi Ncube.
Mlauzi said poor conversion rate in the tournament had been their biggest undoing and the Mighty Warriors will now return home with the ignominy if having failed to score a goal in the group games.
They drew their opener 0-0 against South Africa who finished as group runners-up behind Cameroon following a rampant 5-0 thrashing of Egypt. “Today, we got early setbacks in the game and from there on we were going to be up against the home side who were backed by a vociferious crowd.
“But we kept loyal to us, kept digging, creating dangerous chances. “But just like we have been doing in the tournament, we failed to convert chances. “Again, second half, we conceded an early goal.
“It has been 11 years since we last qualified so it has been exciting for the squad, but I tell you, we will be back again,” said Mlauzi.
Just before the breather, Mighty Warriors goalkeeper Dzingirai nearly handed the hosts a goal in the 40th minute when she failed to deal with a direct ball from Enganamouit which she let slip past her legs before quickly recovering to clearing the danger.
The Mighty Warriors had their chances but they were far and between in either half and after the resumption Muzongondi could have pulled one back following some neat passes in the midfield with stand in skipper Msipa.