Mighty Warriors suffered a major blow in their quest to qualify for the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) after losing 3-1 to Botswana in the first leg of the final qualifier played at the National Sports Stadium this Friday.

The first half was a see-saw affair and the Mighty Warriors had the ball in the back of the net after a neat build-up and a clear Rudo Neshamba goal was ruled offside.

Bulky striker Rutendo Makore had another effort that canned off the upright post but that was as good as it got in the first half.

The Neighbours came back from the breather with more intent and it was no surprise when they took the lead just two minutes into the second half after a goalkeeping blunder by Lindiwe Magwede.

Another defensive mistake ensured Botswana would get a second goal and get breathing space with 20 minutes to go.

Substitute Privilege Mupeti, who has a liking for Botswana after scoring and assisting in the team’s last two meetings, pulled one back with four minutes to go.

However, Botswana had the last laugh after getting a third and put the game to rest.

Mighty Warriors coach Sithethelelwe Sibanda attributed the loss to the team’s blunders.

“At this level, it is simple if you commit those blunders then definitely you are going to lose the match. We could have done better defensive and we also had chances that we didn’t take,” she said.

The match official of the day also reminded everyone of the importance of safety and keeping the game flowing.

The reverse fixture is in Gaborone in five days and the Mighty Warriors need to summon all the strength to reverse the scoreline and book a date at AWCON 2022 set for Morocco in July. ZBC