HARARE – Zimbabwe’s football team yesterday got a surprise visit from seven-time Olympic medallist and swimming icon Kirsty Coventry at their training venue ahead of Sunday’s decisive African Nations Cup qualifier in Angola.
Zimbabwe carry a seemingly healthy 3-1 lead from the first leg at Rufaro Stadium early last month and appear pre-match favourites to qualify for the Afcon in South Africa next January.
The 29-year-old Coventry – who has become a national sporting hero for he exploits in the pool – dropped by to give words of encouragement to the players before they leave for Luanda on Friday evening.
Coventry, who was accompanied by fiancéeTyrone Seeward, arrived at Italian Sports Club about 15 minutes before the end of the training session and watched the Warriors conclude their work-out.
After that, the Queen of the Waters had a brief chat with the players that lasted for about five minutes.
“I have just come to wish the players the best of luck even though most of us won’t be there to support them,” Coventry said.
“We will be screaming and shouting at the TV supporting them they made us proud here and I’m sure they will make us proud there no matter the outcome.”
Coventry, who was guest of honour during the first leg in Harare added: “We are proud of them, they are a strong team and they have had a good preparation and we just want to let them know that they we are here for them.”
The Harare-born luminary is known for her unwavering support for fellow Zimbabwean sports stars.
In July, Coventry watched the national rugby side, the Sables, when they won the African rugby title in Tunisia.
She was also at the finish line when marathon runner Stephen Muzhingi won his record third successive Comrades Marathon last year.
While she will not be traveling to Luanda, the former world record holder expressed her confidence in the team.
“They are going to win,” Coventry replied when she was asked to make a prediction of the result.
“I’m biased because I’m very supportive of them but they a great chance. They showed us here on home turf and I know it’s always difficult playing away from home.
“They showed us they are a team that plays well together. They communicate well together which is one of the greatest attributes of a team succeeding.
“They have that on their side and we will all be excited to see how it goes.”