The Mighty Warriors will host Botswana this Friday in Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers in an empty stadium after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) rejected Zimbabwe’s request to let in supporters.
The match will be played at National Sports Stadium as it is the only stadium in the country provisionally certified by CAF in Zimbabwe to host international matches.
Some national teams have been given permission by CAF to allow a limited number of fully vaccinated supporters during the senior men’s World Cup matches.
However, the National Sports Stadium is yet to meet the continental body’s requirements, which include, among other things, having buckets seats and electronic access controls.
Zimbabwe hosts Botswana next Friday and then travel to Francistown for the reverse leg on 23 February.
The winner of the two legs qualifies for the Africa Women Cup of Nations finals to be held in Morocco in July.
Mighty Warriors coach Sithetheliwe Sibanda lamented the inactivity of the local league due to COVID-19 which has negatively impacted the fitness of the squad. She said:
We should be ready even if we are not going to be 100 per cent fit. We should be ready for the match.
The inactivity really is doing us no good. But if it’s the state of the affairs because of Covid-19 what can we do?
This is what is there but we hope one day something will happen in women’s football.
If it’s not the league, at least we could even have some tournaments to keep the players active so that when they come to the national team they are in a better shape.
The local league has been suspended since 2020 when COVID-19 was first detected in Zimbabwe.