Zimbabwe/South Africa: Mushore Shines Amid WC Gloom

Cape Town — It has so far been a gloomy campaign for Zimbabwe senior netball team at the 2023 Netball World Cup.

The Ropafadzo Mutsauki-led side were left to fight for a position in the bottom four places of the prestigious tournament after failing to pick a win in all their three pool A matches.

However, in that gloomy situation Goal Keeper Elizabeth Mushore had to create something for Zimbabweans to smile about.

In her World Cup debut and second national duty assignment, she has penned her name as a vital cog for the team that bleeds heavily for lack of depth.

Mushore has featured in all of the Gems’ fixtures at the prestigious tournament so far.

In fact,”Stretchy” as she is affectionately known, and Claris Kwaramba are the only two players who featured an entire 60 minutes when the Ropafadzo Mutsauki-led side tried in vain to fight for a slot in the next round of the tournament.

However, being a team sport, the two Platinum Queens’ quest was just not enough to save the day.

But debutant Mushore oozes with all the potential and Mutsauki could have hit the right chord in his rebuilding exercise.

“I am disappointed that we failed to make it into round two of the tournament but this is what competition is all about anyway; we win some and lose some,” she said.

“The competition here is very intense. I knew what a World Cup call meant but experiencing it is another thing, I have learnt a lot.”

Mushore made a stylish debut at the World Cup Qualifiers in Pretoria when she introduced herself on court with an elegant and well-calculated first touch that blew the arena unto frenzy.

The lanky 22-year-old had been introduced as a third quarter replacement for Tanaka Makusha to thrill the fans to a spectacular turnover in her first touch of the game which they won 49-41 to rivals Botswana.

For her debut which had to be delayed by an ankle injury which resulted in her failing to report for her initial call up ahead of the Pent Series in 2021, Mushore did justice to make her presence felt.

And this time around, the soft spoken Mushore also made another bold statement in national team colours.

“When the call up came, I was scared. This is the highest level for any sport code, I had never imagined myself playing at such a tournament one day,” she said.

“I worked hard for it, this is not the outcome we wanted as a team but personally I chose to focus on the positives.

“I have learnt a lot here which I have to work on when I go back home, I am actually determined to make it to the next World Cup so this time was good enough for the experience.”

The towering star’s netball journey started during her primary school days in Shamva.

Being an all-rounder at the time, she never imagined donning the netball national team colours someday, let alone globe-trotting or featuring at a World cup.

Although she always chooses to remain modest even when her on court prowess gives all bragging rights, Mushore has since her school days often become a key player in all the teams she has featured on.

However, her journey to stardom has never been easy.

In 2017, when she was actually starting to be noticed, she was selected to take part in the National games in Victoria Falls.

Unfortunately her father would not let her travel.

As fate would have it, the following year, she was again selected to play at the National Youth Games in Hwange.

It took her mother’s intervention for her father to allow her to go.

As the Netball gods had scripted it, the tournament was her “biggest” breakthrough.

It is at the tournament that Mushore was spotted and offered a Pamushana Mission scholarship.

“I did not think twice about the offer, I simply said yes because I had always wanted to be at a boarding school and there came a chance out of the court,” she recalls.