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Christabel Katona of Zimbabwe during the 2023 Hollywoodlbets COSAFA Womens Championship match between Namibia and Botswana at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Pretoria on 06 October 2023 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Zimbabwe secure win on return to regional championship

Zimbabwe marked their return to international football with a victory on day three in the 2023 HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Women’s Championship at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Friday.

The Mighty Warriors were 1-0 winners over Lesotho in the Group C opener. Privilege Mupeti came off the bench to score her side’s only goal just before the hour-mark in a match that Zimbabwe dominated.

Shadrack Mulauzi’s charges were in might have won by a greater margin with Charitabel Katona guilty of not being clinical in front of goal on two clear occasions in the first half.

Katona could have made it 2-0 with 15 minutes left on the clock but her shot went wide, leaving the match to end with the sole goal.

The Warriors are in first position on the log with three points, ahead of Botswana and Namibia, who drew 1-1 in the second match of the day.

It took only six minutes for the Gladiators to find the back of the net through Millicent Hikuam. The Mares weren’t siting back as Lesego Radiakanyo went on a solo run after 30 minutes to test Queandra Batista, who proved to be up to the task.

Batista was also forced to make a super save soon after when Balothanyi Johannes shot from a tight angle.

The second half didn’t produce a lot of chances for both teams and with the game looking like it was going to end with a Namibia win, Botswana won a set-pieces with 11 minutes to the final whistle.

Captain Kesegofetse Mochawe stepped up and delivered a beauty of an equaliser from outside the box to steal a point for her side.

The tournament moves to the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday for match day two in Group A where Malawi and Eswatini will meet to play for top spot in the early kick-off (12h00) and South Africa and Madagascar get the opportunity to register their first points in the second fixture at 15h30.