BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
IT’S been barely six years since Black Rhinos Queens star Precious Mudyiwa got her first taste of competitive football, but such has been the remarkable rise in the sport that she was last week named the best goalkeeper in Southern Africa.
Mudyiwa is still buzzing after she scooped the Goalkeeper-of-the-Tournament accolade at the inaugural Caf Women Champions League/Cosafa Qualifier in Durban, South Africa last week.
The gifted goalkeeper was one of the most outstanding players in the competition along with Mighty Warriors striker Rutendo Makore, with the latter emerging the player of the tournament in spite of the fact that the team lost 3 – 0 to Mamelodi Sundowns in the final.
Despite having not played any competitive football for almost two years prior to the tournament, the Queens navigated the group as well as the knock-out stages of the regional qualifier without conceding a goal due to Mudyiwa’s exploits, only to ship in three in the final.
The 23-year-old shot-stopper’s success in the regional tournament is made even more special by the fact that she only started taking the sport seriously six years ago after being convinced by her friend, Bridget Nyamututa.
“I have been playing competitive football for six years now and this is the biggest competition that I have competed in and I hope it’s just the beginning of bigger things,” Mudyiwa opened up in an interview with The Sports Hub last week.
“I never thought I would grow up to be a football player. My football career started at St Francis and St Claire in Guruve. A friend of mine by the name Bridget Nyamututa dragged me to COSSA academy to try out my hand at football.
“I started off as an infield player and one day at a school tournament the goalkeeper got injured and I volunteered to stand in for one match. From that day I became a goalkeeper,” Mudyiwa said.
After earning her biggest individual accolade, Mudyiwa is hoping that this is only the start of more things to come in her fledgling career.
“I am so happy to have won the award considering that it was at a big tournament such as the Caf Women Champions League Zonal qualifiers,” she said.
“I never expected that we would go to the tournament, so I am grateful to God for it. However, it was painful losing in the final and missing the opportunity to go to the finals in Egypt.
“Now the target is to win the local league again so that we can come back again next year. We are looking to do better next year and if we get Mamelodi Sundowns we will beat them,” she said.
Black Rhinos Queens made history after they became the first club to represent the country in the newly-formed CAF Women’s Champions League — Cosafa Qualifiers.
The local women’s league has not been played since the Covid-19 virus outbreak in early last year and Black Rhinos Queens won the 2019 competition.
For Mudyiwa, the competition gave her a chance to shine and be recognised as a footballer.
Mudyiwa joined Black Rhinos in 2017 from COSSA after she was promised a job at the army side.
And now that she has had recognition at regional level, Mudyiwa has set her sights on earning a national team call-up which is one of her dreams.
“The dream is to play football at the highest level, especially abroad. I also hope that this recognition will earn me the chance to also play for my country,” she said.