HomeSportZim female footballer shines in Australia

Zim female footballer shines in Australia

BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO

SHE left the country for Australia to further her studies, but deep down Yolanda Kanyai had a football dream which was like fire shut up in her bones.

While she is already a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree as well as Graduate Certificate in Social Work and is currently studying Masters of Social Work, Kanyai’s claim to fame is her ability as a footballer.

The 25-year-old Zimbabwean forward has already achieved a number of milestones in her football career Down Under having made the all-star team in her State a number of times as well as being voted the coaches player of the season this year.

Kanyai is also part of the Northern Territory Indigenous Women’s Advisory committee which represents the State’s football matters on a higher level in Australia.

Currently, Kanyai plays for Northern Territory Yappas who finished fourth in the league.

As she continues to dream, Kanyai reflects on her achievement in Australia so far.

“My best moments so far are two. The first one being when I arrived here, I got to be chosen for the all-star team that went to Tasmania (another state) representing my state. I managed to score 2 goals in that series,” Kanyai told The Sports Hub in an exclusive interview.

“The second one was this season when I was elected to be coaches player of the season. And in several games I was awarded player of the game which is very pleasing for any football player,” she added.

Just like many footballers outside the country, Kanyai’s wish is to be part of the Mighty Warriors one day and help in the revival of women soccer back home.

“Moving forward I am dreaming big. I hope I’ll be able to at least showcase my talent in at least one game for my country before I stop playing.

“Also I would want to help revive the women’s league in Zimbabwe and that’s my major plan being work in progress. I feel as women, we aren’t provided with the same opportunities men have despite the world being sexually inclusive,” she said.

Kanyai narrates how she started playing soccer in the dusty streets of Harare high-density suburb  of Highfields, facing criticism from many who saw soccer as a sport for men, including her own parents.

“I grew up on the streets of Harare enjoying being around boys and that’s how my story begins. I grew up around my uncles most of whom played street soccer.

“With time, that became our norm even when I would visit my aunt over the holidays in Highfields. I would be the only girl around a gang of about 10-15 boys playing street soccer from dawn to dusk,” said Kanyai.

“During my primary school education, girls’ soccer wasn’t yet a big thing but I’d find myself and three other girls in my class playing with the boys during break time.

“No stigma stopped me and, to be honest, I grew up as a tomboy and none of that bothered me as I just felt at ease while playing soccer. I think at times, if something is your calling, you just feel it.”

“Like everyone else, I did face great objections. I still remember during my A level days when I told my mum I wanted to join a club outside of school curriculum, she ridiculed me. Just like any other typical African parent, she told me sports had no better future than books.

“I was more book intelligent than sport gifted and she encouraged me to pursue my education more than sporting life. With time they all curved in when I started playing here in Australia,” she said.

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