The Herald (Harare)

3 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Black Rhinos Queens Lift Title

BLACK Rhinos Queens won the Marange National Women's Soccer League title on Saturday when they beat Conduit Soccer Academy 2-0 at Madhodha in Guruve. Chipembere managed to successfully defend their title after winning the women's league which was re-introduced last season as clubs were now only participating in their regions.

Last season the league was unbranded and it finished prematurely before all the teams had completed their matches.

Rhinos, who were leading the log, were then declared champions.

However, this year, the coming in of diamond firm Marange saw the league being run professionally and it created some stiff competition in the 10-team league.

On Saturday, army side Black Rhinos Queens cemented their place as an emerging force in local women's football which at the turn of the millennium had been dominated by community clubs such as Mufakose and New Orleans.

They won the league with a game to spare.

Black Rhinos will be presented on Wednesday with their trophy by the sponsors Marange Resources when the curtain comes down on the league during their home tie against Gweru side Chipembere at One Commando.

Yesterday captain Talent Mandaza and vice-captain Kuda Basopo, who captained the team when the season started as Mandaza was undergoing military training, accredited their success to hard work.

The Mighty Warriors striker, Basopo, believes their physical endurance as an army side provided them with the cutting edge which other teams lacked.

"We really did well this season. It was a tough season and there was stiff competition. But we have endurance as soldiers and we had to show the civilians that we are soldiers for sure.

"The other teams couldn't match us on the physical nature of the game. At our club, we also enjoy stability, as we have all the resources and as players we simply focus on training and playing football.

"We train everyday at Rhinos and there is team spirit and everyone wanted to win the league title and we are happy we have achieved that," said Basopo.

The striker said their team, which only lost one match against Flame Lily this season, was not demoralised by that defeat.

"In that match, we were not entirely dominated by Flame Lily but they got their chances and used them and we realised it when it was too late that we had lost the match.

"We didn't think much about the defeat and we were just confident and picked ourselves and continued to win matches.

"Next year we want to continue to win trophies and with coach Chinyan'anya (Thomas) we can achieve that and we want to remain as the best team in women's football in Zimbabwe," said Basopo.

Mandaza, who missed the opening matches, believes that they were able to win the league because of their ability to collect points against fellow big teams.

"The players are happy to win the league and we cannot wait to lift the trophy.

"I came back from training after the team had played about four matches and I found the competition tough but our team made it a point not to lose against the big teams.

"We didn't expect any team to do us any favours or beat other teams for us and we did well against Mufakose, New Orleans and Inline and if we had dropped points against these teams it would have been difficult to win this league.

"As a team we also worked extra hard, always training everyday, even when the league was on break. The coming in of new players Rufaro Machingura and Violet Bepete also helped us, as they also strengthened our squad," said Mandaza.

Black Rhinos were really firing from all angles and managed to score 78 goals while they conceded 10. Striker Rutendo Makore is the league's leading goalscorer after she scored 33 goals and is set to win the Marange Golden Boot award.

Results

Inline 3, Masvingo Queens 0; Conduit 0, Black Rhinos Queens 2; Cyclone 1, Mufakose Queens 1; Faith Drive 0, Flame Lily Queens 1; Chipembere 0, New Orleans 1.

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