THE word “shukraan” means “thank you” in Arabic – and this is Mighty Warriors stocky striker Rutendo “Madzimai” Makore’s message to the people of Egypt.
After a two-month loan stint with El Elemayeen Academy, a top flight team that reached the finals of the Egypt Cup last Friday, Makore is expected back home this week.
It has been a fruitful excursion for the Black Rhinos player who scored eight goals in six outings. And now she will await feedback from the decision-makers at El Elemayeen Academy.
Football in Egypt was traditionally played by men as women were prevented from participating in sports but since the formation of a women’s national football league in 2000, the game has attracted more interest from local sponsors.
Egypt qualified for the 2016 CAF Women Africa Cup of Nations held in Cameroon in November where Makore featured for the Mighty Warriors and impressed Egyptian scouts when Zimbabwe lost 0-1 to the North Africans.
She now hopes to become the first Zimbabwean woman to land a football deal in that part of the world.
“People here are very friendly and the weather is fine with me. Women’s football is taken seriously and a lot of sponsors support the league.
“The national women’s league games are beamed live on TV. I think I have tried my best to impress the coaches. I have played a total of six matches and scored eight … I believe I have done well,” Makore told The Sunday Mail Sport from Egypt.
The 24-year-old Norton-bred striker has made maximum use of her spare time to visit Egypt’s monuments, learning the local culture and a bit of the language.
“It has been awesome meeting new friends and travelling across the country. I can now speak a little bit of Arabic. Their culture is a bit difficult to follow. I have also had problems with some of their food but at least they have rice and chicken.
“I can now say ‘tueal ‘iilaa huna’ (come here) and ‘shukraan’. I have two close friends (‘sohabi’) among my teammates Mahira and Batoola whom I have also been teaching Shona. Mahira, who plays as a midfielder, can now ask me ‘uribhoo here?’ (‘how are you?’), and call me ‘shamwari’ (‘friend’),” said Makore.
Makore’s football career began in 2006 at Golden Angels of Norton when she was only 13 before joining Cyclone Stars FC the following year.
She played for Zimbabwe’s Under-20 national team before graduating into the Mighty Warriors squad, becoming part of the squad that historicaly qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.Today’s Fixtures (kickoff 3pm)
Triangle vs Chicken Inn (Gibbo), Hwange vs Dynamos (Colliery), Highlanders vs ZPC Kariba (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine vs Harare City (Maglas), Caps United vs Tsholotsho (National Sports Stadium)