By Grace Chirumanzu
The Zimbabwe national team, the Mighty Warriors, made her country proud by qualifying for yet another major tournament this year when they beat Zambia on Sunday to book a place at the 2016 Women Africa Cup of Nations finals to be held in Cameroon in November.
The Mighty Warriors qualified for the Rio Olympic Games carving their name in the annals of Zimbabwean sporting history by becoming the second team sport to represent the Southern Africans at the Olympics.
Zimbabwe was first represented by a team sport at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 where the Women Hockey team won the country’s first gold medal.
Touch battles await the Shadreck Mlauzi-coached side at the global and continental stage, but the Mighty Warriors veteran defender Nobuhle Magika is not intimidated by the experience of her team’s opponents later this year.
She told a local daily, Newsday, her team is among the best and it will work hard to prove they deserve that recognition.
“I can’t express how happy we are as a team to have made it. We have worked hard and deserve this. As one of the team’s leaders, I’m really honored to have led the team to such great heights and we should be proud of ourselves,” she said.
“But it would mean nothing if we are going to be humiliated at the Olympics and Afcon. Playing at the Olympics will be tough because we will be up against the world’s best, but we have proved we are one of them by qualifying and we will go there not to make up numbers. As for the Afcon, we are targeting the gold medal or at least a bronze. The experience we would have gained at the Olympics will come in handy.”
Magika realizes winning at such prestigious tournaments will not come on a silver platter.
“We can only achieve this if we continue to work hard. We should not relax thinking that the job is done by just qualifying. I wish we could get into camp as early as possible. I’m urging my fellow players to work even harder, particularly when they go back to their clubs. Even when they are at home, they should train to keep in shape because the time to relax is over,” she declared.