HARARE – Zimbabwe’s women rugby players, like their football counterparts before, have a deep desire to go to the Olympics.

The hard-working Zimbabwean ladies will be in Tunisia in October for the African championship, which also serves as the continent’s qualification event for the next Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.

Zimbabwe’s female footballers made global headlines at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil by becoming the first football team from the southern African nation – male or female – to qualify for a major football sporting event.

 And now the country’s rugby “Lady Cheetahs” are burning to repeat that feat.

Robyn Mhembere, one of the key players in Zimbabwe’s Sevens rugby team over the past few seasons, will be massively chuffed to see the girls go to France, with her or not of course.

“If I make the squad for Tunisia, I hope we play (well) and qualify,” the lively Mhembere told SportsCast on Thursday.

“If we win, I’ll be happy!”

Robyn Mhembere dressed in her full Zimbabwe colours.

Mhembere hails from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, which has given the country some of its greatest rugby players in history.

In more recent years, all the rugby has been concentrated around the capital city, Harare. But local Bulawayo hero Robyn wants to be part of those inspiring her hometown’s journey back to the good old days.

“Rugby in Bulawayo died during Covid, but it’s slowly recovering,” she said.

“What I wish is (to see) more young stars get empowered and join rugby so that the sport in the province grows.”

Young Robyn caught the rugby bug when she stumbled upon the sport at Bulawayo’s Northlea High School in 2017.

Believe it or not, in the same year – no sooner was she was getting to grips with the intricacies of the game – was Robyn being selected into the Zimbabwe national side in both formats of the game!

Since then, she has known exactly what she desires to achieve in this sport.

“Fame!” she beamed. “Just to be the best at what I do, to improve on my work rate, on and off the pitch.”

Precisely what’s needed to create heroes.


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