6 January 2019

Zimbabwe: SA-Based Cricket Prodigy Opts for Zimbabwe

It's a dream come true for 16-year-old South Africa-based female cricket prodigy Chiedza Mzembe who has made it into the Zimbabwe national women's side currently competing in the Namib Desert Women's T20 Challenge in Namibia.

Mzembe, who migrated to South Africa when she was only seven years old, has already represented her adopted country having been selected to play for the South Africa Under-17 side at the Indoor Cricket World Cup held in New Zealand last year.

But the fledgling quick bowler is set to earn her first senior national cap for the country in Namibia where the two countries are engaging in five T20 matches that began yesterday in Walvis Bay.

Chiedza's mother Julia Mzembe told The Sports Hub in an interview from her base in Randburg, South Africa, that her daughter was excited to be representing the country.

"She (Chiedza) is ecstatic about playing for Zimbabwe so much that she was actually threatening to move back home permanently. It's something she has been dreaming about," Julia said.

Chiedza, who turns 17 later this month, is one of the youngest members of the Zimbabwe ladies' cricket team touring Namibia at the moment.

"It is Chiedza's desire to be able to inspire other young people and youths to come and serve their country and she would also like to achieve great things for the country," Julia said of her daughter.

A former Dominican Convent student, Chiedza migrated to South Africa at age seven with her mother and siblings in search of a better life. That is where she stumbled onto the sport called cricket.

"It's funny how she started playing cricket when she was 10. She followed a little boy to practice one day while she was waiting to be picked up from Cliff View Primary School and ended up enjoying the sport. She ended up joining an all-boys team and she has never looked back since.

"She was pursuing other sports like swimming, soccer and athletics. She was good in soccer and is an endurance runner, she swims, she played netball as well as tennis, but I stopped it all because she was now too busy. I could not stop the cricket because she kept on excelling. When she made the Gauteng team in Grade 7, that is when I realised this could be her calling and started supporting her," said Julia.

Now a Randburg Cricket Club player, Chiedza has since represented the Gauteng Under-13 A team, is part of the Northcliff first team and was in June selected to play for the South Africa Under-17 indoor cricket girls team for the World Cup in New Zealand last year.

She has also been training with the Under-20 South Africa indoor team.

Interestingly, according to her mother, Chiedza still harbours dreams of playing for South Africa.

"She still wants to play for the Proteas women in her career, but after she has done service for her nation. In a way, she wants to pay them back for the training and the opportunity they have given her.

"She intends to study sport management and when she retires become a national coach of some women's team. She also has an ambition to play in the IPL (Indian Premier League)," she said.

Chiedza is the second born in a family of three. Her elder sister Sihle is a chartered accountant student at the University of Johannesburg while her younger brother Panashe is in Grade Two.

The young cricketer is inspired by South African top bowler Kagiso Rabada and hopes to scale the heights that her idol has reached in international cricket.

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