The Zimbabwe Mighty Warriors received an early Christmas present after its Chief Patron, Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe gave them US$120 000 as bonuses for lifting the Zimbabwe flag high by winning the COSAFA women soccer cup and qualifying for the 2011 All Africa Games.
It was a prestigious moment for the Zimbabwe Mighty Warriors as they got a moment of a lifetime to dine with the First Family at State House and receive a big thank you from their Chief Patron, Cde Mugabe.The Mighty Warriors Chief Patron who was absent during last Saturdayâ€™s COSAFA final win over South Africa said he wished he was present to watch the magical moment unfolding, but his appreciation came out much bigger with a banquet and a stunning US$120 000 for the teamâ€™s bonuses.
Accompanied by Amai Grace Mugabe and Vice President, Cde Joice Mujuru, Cde Mugabe hailed the teamâ€™s achievement describing it as magical and something that will play on into the future and beg for even more victory.
“Well done dear ladies. Those beautiful boots, perhaps not boots, but feet, perhaps not feet, but legs, perhaps not legs, but ladies, well done. They say while failure is an orphan, success has many fathers. We now say we have all won. Congratulations,” said President Mugabe.
Cde Mugabe also paid special tribute to Womenâ€™s Football boss, Mavis Gumbo, the teamâ€™s technical team and the re-branding committee whom he praised for a splendid effort in building a team that has conquered the region.
Like the Mighty Warriors number one supporter he is, Cde Mugabe had special mention for striker Rufaro Machingura who scored the goal which buried Banyana Banyana.
“They thought it will be a draw after 85 minutes with only 5 minutes to go, but you said no, and there was that boot that brought joy…..Rufaro’s boot, a boot of joy at Rufaro (stadium),” added the President.
Cde Mugabe also hailed long distance runner, Stephen Muzhingi whom he said he is waiting to honour.
After sharing enough of the light moments with the team, music and food capped off the treat to the perfect afternoon for the All Africa Games finalists banquet which was also attended by several dignitaries and corporate sponsors.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe has called for a relook at the nationâ€™s perception of sport saying there is need for more support.
The Mighty Warriors Chief Patron conceded thereâ€™s need for more financial support towards sport from government so that success can be achieved.
President Mugabe said while some might willingly choose to shun financing sport, he values sport and will continue to do his best in funding the countryâ€™s sporting teams.
During the ceremony, Cde Mugabe further showed his commitment to sport by donating some 100 soccer balls and US$20 000 which he has sourced to the Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture to kick start the development of women soccer.
The Mighty Warriorsâ€™ historic qualification for the All Africa Games and COSAFA victory has certainly opened up a new chapter in the perception of women sport in the country.