Chegutu-born Mighty Warriors striker, Rutendo Makore, is a young woman who enjoys herself. She would stand up to dance to good music without first looking around for who she can do it with at a function. And she is good at it too. She enjoyed dancing along with musician Cynthia Mare at the team’s fundraising dinner this month. Makore is ticked off by society’s misconceptions about women who play football and she insists the game is their passion and should not be used to judge them off the field.
Grace Chirumanzu (GC): Why do people call you Madzimai?
Rutendo Makore (RM): It was because I used to be a member of the apostolic church. But not anymore, ndamwana wemuporofita (am now a prophet’s child). I now go to PHD Ministries.
GC: Are you not offended by the nickname now?
RM: Not really, once a nickname sticks it always stays, I know I am going to be called that for a long time. I am hardly offended.
GC: How do you motivate yourself in a match when your team is down?
RM: Normally when on the pitch I always tell myself that it is not over until it is over. We have always been good in motivating each other as a group and that has helped us keep going even when playing against powerful opponents at the Olympics.
GC: How do you celebrate victory?
RM: When I am in camp we go for dinner as a team but individually I go out for a braai.
GC: What do you think is the worst thing that has been said about women who play football?
RM: I do not like it when people make conclusion about the personal lives of women who play football simply because of the way we dress or the way we play the game. Dressing is only influenced by the person’s background and personal taste in fashion. We are ladies outside this sport; wearing shorts and trousers is part of the business of the game that should not be used to judge us.
GC: What do you enjoy doing outside playing football?
RM: I play netball and I enjoy it.
GC: If you were to win US$1million, what will be the first thing you would do?
RM: I would donate to my former High School and Primary School football teams. That’s St Erics High and Norton’s Vimbai Primary School.
GC: If you were to live in any country besides your beloved Zimbabwe, what would that country be and why?
RM: I would choose England because of football. There is a lot of football there and I could be somewhere playing in England than in Africa.
GC: What do you despise about African football?
RM: It is a pity African football is not financially rewarding and it doesn’t take a player anywhere. At my age (24) I should have earned big things from playing football, but still I have nothing tangible.
‘Sportswomanship demystified’ is a series of profiles and photos by Her Zimbabwe and Sports Journalist and photographer, Grace Chirumanzu, in support and solidarity for the Mighty Warriors ahead of the 2016 African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON). It celebrates Zimbabwe’s Mighty warriors as women of strength, who know no boundaries and limits. They have persisted despite all challenges they have faced, and deserve all the support they can get. Go Mighty Warriors!
All images taken by Grace Chirumanzu