The re-birth of Mufakose Queens… as Fineye comes to the rescue

AS THE Mighty Warriors bid to qualify for a sixth appearance at the African Women Cup of Nations (Awcon) finals, perhaps it is a time to reflect on the trajectory that local women’s football has taken in the last two decades.

Zimbabwe have qualified for the biennial tournament on five occasions in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2016 and 2018 and are now bracing for a return leg against Botswana as they push for another dance on the continental stage.

The Mighty Warriors suffered a morale sapping 3-1 defeat at home to Botswana at the National Sports on Friday and now faces a mammoth task ahead of the return leg scheduled for Francistown on February 28 at Obedi Itani Chilume Stadium.

While a number of new women’s soccer teams have emerged in the last decade or so, there are traditional clubs that played a crucial role in laying the foundation for the women’s game.

Some of the pioneer clubs that quickly come into mind that supplied the Mighty Warriors back in the 1990s, when the African Women Championship competition was inaugurated are Bulawayo’s New Orleans and Mufakose Queens, Cyclone, St Marry’s Queens, Mutare Queens among others.  

The current Mighty Warriors coach Sithetheliwe “Kwinji 15” Sibanda, Rosemary Mugadza, Nomsa “Boyz” Moyo, Precious “Gringo” Mpala and Ruth Banda are some of the products of New Orleans who ended up starring for the national team.

The quintet played a key role when Zimbabwe finished fourth at the 2000 Awcon finals hosted by South Africa.

Mufakose Queens were famous for exposing the talents of Melody Musasa, Marylin “Mimi” Magozore, Talent Mandaza, Ruvimbo Mutyavaviri, Aldiglade Bhamu and the current Mighty Warriors star player and captain Emmacualte Msipa.

Sadly, Mufakose Queens collapsed five years ago due to financial constraints and their death spawned a football funeral on the local scene.

However, a ray hope of hope is shining for the former giants who recently clinched a five-year sponsorship deal with local panel beating company, Fineye.

Mufakose Queens are now finding their feet in Northern Region Division One hoping to make a return to the top flight where they believe they belong.

Mufakose Queens team manager Anna Kaseke said their main objective is to ensure a quick return to the top flight.

“We are extremely delighted with the sponsorship from Fineye. We have been in the wilderness for the past five years and it feels really good to be back,” Kaseke told the Daily News on Sunday.

“We are looking forward to do well and make a quick return to the top flight. We want to reclaim our title as the best team in the country. It is our desire to produce players who can make the grade for the Mighty Warriors.”

Fineye chief executive officer Albert Kaseke, who is the son to one of the founding members of the club Monica, said his company’s gesture was one way of ploughing back to the community.

Fineye presented the club with kits, equipment, a vehicle for administrative purposes and are also taking care of the salaries.

“The main motivation to sponsor Mufakose Queens came from the fact that I was born and bred in Mufakose and to me I felt obliged to give back to my community,” Kaseke revealed to the Daily News on Sunday.

“I was also looking and I noticed the girl child seems to be neglected in our society and Mufakose Queens was the first to come to my mind since it was started by my mother, Monica together with Langton Giwa and Johannes Chikaola.

“So, I’ve a serious attachment with Mufakose Queens and watching the team folding forced me to do something especially following the passing on of my mother.

“Again, looking at the plight of girl child in the country, they need everyone’s support to help them from the vampires in the streets.

“So, as Fineye Panel Beaters we saw it necessary to chip in and contribute in a small way by sponsoring the team for the next five years.

“Our main aim is to revive Mufakose Queens to once again become the leading supplier of players in the Mighty Warriors team. As Fineye we feel, with enough support women’s football in this country can go far.”

Kaseke feels there is so much talent in women’s football and it needs everyone’s support to help the ladies realise their dreams.

“In fact, we are appealing to other corporate giants to come in and support the girl child. They have the potential to compete at an international level. They have done it before and i believe they can do it once again,” Kaseke said.

“They have done it at the Olympics and I believe they can do it again and even qualify to the World Cup. If a lot of business people put aside something for the women’s game, I have no doubt it will reclaim a place at the top.

“And like they rightly say that, if you support a girl child, you have supported a nation. As Fineye, our main target is to end up supporting even the Mighty Warriors.

“It’s something that we are looking forward to.

“We don’t want a situation where people start to come in when they have already qualified to tournaments. So, as Fineye we shall also be financing for the development of young talent from schools.”