Mugadza shines a light for women’s football in Zimbabwe

For someone who has been in the football trenches for over 22 years, it is small wonder her life-journey has been a tale of ups and downs.

Rosemary Mugadza is the current Young Mighty Warriors coach, whose charges are in the running for a place at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

The qualifiers in which Zimbabwe were pencilled in to play Ethiopia were however shelved after the Covid-19 pandemic conspired to halt all global sport.
Despite that setback, one of several that she has encountered in her life, Mugadza remains as optimistic as she is resolute.

Born, in 1969, into a family of six, the first five being boys and her being the last, she took up the inspiration to play football from her siblings, but only joined her first professional side after finishing her ‘O’ Levels.

That was in 1988 when she joined Zimbabwe Saints Ladies Football Club before moving to rivals Highlanders Royals.

But her career really took off in 1993 when she became one of the founding members of the late Haverson Masilela-owned New Orleans Football Club.

It was the team of the moment then, and it included what was considered the creme dela creme of the Bulawayo stars from Nomsa ‘Boyz’ Moyo, Sithethelelwe ‘Kwinji 15’ Sibanda to Precious Mpala and Ruth Banda.

From 1993 to 2001, they ruled the roost, dazzling their opponents and through Masilela’s wide connections the side toured Swaziland and South Africa for some international matches.

When she eventually hung up her boots in 2001, Mugadza had gone on to represent her country as an uncompromising defender for the Mighty Warriors.

As with many players, she took to coaching after her playing days, taking charge of the New Orleans Under-19 side before she graduated to the senior team.

Her New Orleans were crowned Southern Region champions, finished second in the Unity Cup before they lost in the Independence Cup final to Mufakose Queens.

But her achievements and pedigree as a coach had been noted and she was duly appointed the Mighty Warriors assistant coach where she further developed herself, acquiring various coaching qualifications and making herself a good candidate for the top post.

After all she had been an understudy to the experienced hand of Benedict ‘Grinder’ Moyo who was coaching the Mighty Warriors then.

In 2006, Mugadza earned another feather in her coaching cap when she took over as head coach of the Mighty Warriors. Her first assignment would have literally been a baptism of fire as she had to guide the team in the COSAFA Cup which had always been dominated by South Africa’s Banyana Banyana.

But Mugadza and her charges had other ideas, and they stunned Banyana 1-0 to win the regional competition, in the process igniting a fierce rivalry that still stands today.

She left the Mighty Warriors dressing room 2015. Now with Harare City Queens, Mugadza bounced back into the national team set-up when the current ZIFA administration named her the Under-20 coach in 2019.

The resilience in her has shown throughout and she also took time to build her capacity.

This year she set new standards as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) appointed her as the Women Instructor of Instructors.

As Zifa we are delighted with this achievement and call upon all women to take up both football coaching and administration. The national association has a deliberate thrust to ensure the success of women in the game and we will continue to harness all resources for their continued growth.

We also call upon clubs, especially those in the Premier Soccer League, to have a deliberate policy towards the improvement of women football.

This article first appeared in the June 2020 edition of the ZIFA newsletter.