Striker Rutendo Makore scored all four goals as Zimbabwe made an excellent start to their 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship Group A campaign with a 4-0 victory over Madagascar at the Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
Makore was the star of the show for the hosts, who led 1-0 at the break, but turned on the style in the second half as the 24-year-old picked up three more goals.
Sheila Makoto provided two fantastic assists for Makore, who in truth might have had even more goals and is certainly a contender for the Golden Boot this year.
Zambia and Malawi shared nine goals between them in the other game in Group A, with the She-Polopolo coming out 6-3 winners thanks to a hat-trick from Misozi Zulu as she showed her prowess in front of goal.
The Zambians also grabbed goals through Noria Sosala, Barbara Banda and Racheal Nachula.
Malawi had taken the lead early in the game, but were soon over-run, though they did get to celebrate a hat-trick from Tabitha Chawinga.
Namibia, who have twice before been to the semifinals of this competition, opened their 2017 campaign with a 4-0 thumping of Botswana. They scored their goals through Vistorina Shangula (two), Zenatha Coleman (penalty) and substitute Anna Shikusho to make an early statement in Group C.
Only the top teams in each pool, as well as the best runner-up, make it through to the semifinals.
Three-time winners South Africa will get their Group C campaign under way on Thursday when they take on Lesotho at the Luveve Stadium (kick-off 16h30 local; 14h30 GMT).
Banyana Banyana have had a smooth build-up to the tournament and are defending a proud record in the competition having won 18 of their previous 19 games. Their only defeat was in the 2011 final to Zimbabwe.
The opening game of the day sees islanders Mauritius take on Swaziland (10h30 local; 08h30 GMT) in a tough game to call. Both sides will be confident of a positive start to the championship, but Swaziland perhaps have the greater experience.
East African guest nation Kenya play their opener against Mozambique (14h00 local; 12h00 GMT) having brought a much-changed squad to the tournament.
They will hope to gel quickly to get ahead in what is a tight Group B.
All at Barbourfields Stadium
Namibia 4 (Shangula 16′, 43’, Coleman 41’pen, Shikusho 87’) Botswana 0
Zambia 6 (Sosala 12’, M. Zulu 17’, 54, 76’, Banda 23’, Nachula 90’) Malawi 3 (Chawinga 9’, 35’, 86’)
Zimbabwe 4 (Makore 42’, 48’, 76’, 79’) Madagascar 0
All at Luveve Stadium
Mauritius vs Swaziland (10h30 local; 08h30 GMT)
Kenya vs Mozambique (14h00 local; 12h00 GMT)
South Africa vs Lesotho (16h30 local; 14h30 GMT)