Botswana's Mares failed to claim a bronze medal at the just-ended COSAFA Women's Championship after a 3-0 defeat to Zimbabwe in a third placed playoff match at the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Saturday afternoon.
The team missed out on the first ever COSAFA final after a 4-0 drubbing to Zambia in the semifinal played on Thursday. It was the Mares’ maiden competition in the semifinal.
A brace in the second half from Felistas Muzongondi and Mavis Chirandu’s strike sealed a bronze medal for the Mighty Warriors.
It was the first time Zimbabwe claimed the bronze medal in the competition, having won a gold and two silvers in the past, and they can be proud of a solid showing at the championship where they were only beaten by hosts South Africa in the semifinals.
It was tipped to be a tough task for the local girls as they faced a Zimbabwean side that ranked 50 places higher in FIFA world rankings.
Pressure showed on the Mares, as they were a player down with Lone Gaofetege
Despite their dominance from the first whistle, the Warriors failed to find the back of the net as the teams went into the break level at 0-0.
Just three minutes into the second half, Muzongondi broke the deadlock after a sublime move by the Northeastern neighbours.
Four minutes later, Mares were 2-0 down as Chirandu netted her fourth of the championship.
The 10-player Mares tried to stage a come back with Esalenna Galekhutle and Michelle Abueng being the busiest of the players, but the Zimbabwean defence easily thwarted their efforts.
On the last of the referee’s 90 minutes, Muzongondi pinned the final nail on the coffin as the Mares, despite an inspiring display at the championships, return home empty-handed.