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Zimbabwe U21 Ladies Hockey Team

U21 Ladies Hockey team breaks country’s record

By Allan Mbotshwa

The Flames got off to a brilliant start in their world cup games where they managed to beat Canada 2-1 earning them well-deserved points, this win saw the girls writing their own piece of history as they recorded the first ever win in a world cup tournament.

Zimbabwe’s winning goals came from Alexi Terblanche and Lillian Pope in the first half to pick their first three points; Canada’s Janna Goodman scored their only goal in the second half. The 2-1 lead by the Flames was enough to secure a victory.

The team finished 12th in the tournament standings breaking previous records ever achieved in the tournament, the ladies came to the tournament as he underdogs and returned home with their heads held high due to a determined performance that they showcased in South Africa.

“We came in as the underdogs, with the world ranking of number 54. As the underdogs we sent shockwaves when we managed to defeat Canada who are ranked 13th and Zimbabwe was recognised on the international arena, it was an amazing experience. It was breathtaking watching the girls leave their blood sweat and tears,” said team coach, Tendayi Maredza.

The girls are improving with each tournament and this was one of the most competitive yet but the managed to excel despite losing to the Netherlands and the United States, with the adequate support and sponsorship the team can achieve so much more as compared to other sporting activities that get prominence.

“Zimbabwe Ladies finish 3rd in Pool A and are guaranteed a top 12 finish. This will be the highest ranking by a Zimbabwean team at the Junior World Cup having previously finished in 16th place in their last 3 World Cup appearances,” posted Zimhockey twitter handle.

The sporting fraternity is hindered by a lack of sponsorship in other sporting disciplines, which makes it a difficult task to cultivate young talent and have aspiring young players; this trend is synonymous with rugby, cricket, swimming and tennis.

“Zimbabwe has a vast pool of talent that is not being identified due to poor support from the relevant authorities and other stakeholders, the main focus is on football and this leaves the other sports in the cold thereby nothing ever comes of it. The ministry needs to intervene and make sure every sporting discipline is adequately catered for,” said Melusi Buchirai, a local sport analyst.

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