WITH just two weeks to go before the curtain comes down on 2018, there is need to take a look at some of the outstanding sporting moments that may inspire the nation ahead of 2019.
A lot transpired in the world of sport with some of the national teams raising the flag high at different levels as well as local clubs and individuals.
The Herald Sport highlights some of the special moments for Zimbabwe of 2018.
Senior Netball Team’s World Cup Qualification.
The netball team added another feather to their cap when they qualified for the 2019 World Cup to be staged in Liverpool, England, from July 12 to 21.
The Gems put up a good fight at the joint World Cup qualifiers and African Championships held in Lusaka, Zambia, in August to take one of the two slots left after South Africa and Malawi automatically qualified because of their rankings.
The Gems will be making their maiden appearance at the global stage where 16 countries are going to compete. Zimbabwe are drawn in Pool A against the world’s number one side Australia, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka.
Kirsty Coventry’s appointment as Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister.
The year 2018 will remain memorable to the sporting fraternity as it marked a new chapter following the appointment of swimming icon and Olympian Kirsty Coventry as the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.
Coventry became the second female to hold such a portfolio in the Government after former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who held the post in the early 80s when she was Minister of Sport, Youth and Recreation.
Coventry’s appointment was well received with national sport associations and the sporting community hailing the development.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union president Aaron Jani said: “This is a masterstroke, finally one of us has been appointed Minister. It’s the first time I think a Zimbabwean athlete has been honoured this way.”
Earlier in the year, the seven-time Olympic medallist and Africa’s most decorated Olympian had been appointed chair of the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission.
Korfball qualifying for 2019 World Cup.
Though it may not be amongst the most popular sporting codes in the country, the national korfball team had one of their best years when they booked a maiden World Cup berth during the International Korfball Federation All-Africa Championships held at Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex in April.
The championships doubled as the World Cup qualifier with three countries — South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe — taking part.
The global show-piece will be staged in Durban, South Africa, next year.
Cheetahs winning Rugby Sevens Africa Cup
The Cheetahs defied the odds in October when they were crowned the 2018 Africa Cup Sevens Rugby champions in Tunisia when they upstaged giants Kenya in the final.
Zimbabwe went into the tournament with the underdog tag against African giants Kenya and defending champions Uganda, who were both favourites in this tournament.
But the Cheetahs, under the guidance of coach Gilbert Nyamutsamba, rose above the challenge to bring the African Cup home. The victory saw them returning to two of the World Series tournaments — the Dubai and Cape Town tournaments.
Chevrons winning their first away Test cricket in 17 years when they beat Bangladesh
The Zimbabwe cricket team, the Chevrons, early last month surprised many when they won their first away Test match in 17 years after they posted a 151-run win over Bangladesh in Sylhet.
Having gone through a difficult year in which they failed to qualify for the World Cup, their victory in Bangladesh was something worthy of celebrating.
Even the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry, joined in to acknowledge the team’s effort.
It was Zimbabwe’s first Test victory in five years and the first abroad since 2001 which made it a special one.
Warriors winning the COSAFA title for a record seventh time
It was another successful year for the Warriors as they defended the COSAFA Championships title when they beat Zambia in the final in South Africa to stretch their record to six titles in the regional tournament.
Zimbabwe, regarded as the most successful team in the tournament, were chasing for their sixth championship and they just did that in a dramatic fashion when they beat Zambia 4-2 in the final in June.
FC Platinum winning back-to-back Premier Soccer League titles
Seven years since their promotion into the Premier Soccer League, FC Platinum capped another fine season when they retained their title in the 2018 season.
The Zvishavane-based club’s profile has been on the rise and they have become a force to reckon with in the local top-flight league. Under the watchful eye of coach Norman Mapeza, FC Platinum proved their victory last year was no fluke.
Rodwell Chinyengetere’s back-to-back Soccer Star of the Year.
FC Platinum forward Rodwell Chinyengetere joined the exclusive club of legendary football players in the country such as former Warriors skipper Peter Ndlovu, Stanley Ndunduma and George Shaya when he was crowned Soccer Star of the Year for the second year in a row.
Having suffered a career-threatening injury a few years back, it has been like a fairy-tale for Chinyengetere, whose game has been on the rise and his exploits at his club have seen him being recognised as the best player in the domestic league for two successive years.
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza crowned Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
After leading his side to another successful campaign in the 2018 soccer season, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza retained the Coach of the Year award.
Mapeza, who joined the Premier League side in 2014, has managed to turn the side into a dominant force with the club of late overshadowing traditional giants Dynamos, CAPS United and Highlanders.
Young Warriors getting silver at the COSAFA Under-20 Championships.
Although the Young Warriors missed out on the ultimate prize at the just-ended COSAFA Under-20 Championships when they lost to South Africa on penalties, they put up a brave fight to finish as runners-up. It had been more than a decade since the national Under-20 soccer team reached the final in this age-group.
It was one of their best campaigns in the past years, having failed to go beyond the group stages in 2016 and 2017.
Source: The Herald