Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
BULAWAYO women’s football teams Burrow Jets and New Orleans will curtain raise the crack ZNA Commander’s Charities Shield final between Highlanders and Caps United at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.
It is the first time in the history of the four-year-old tournament that women have been given a chance to showcase their skills.
ZNA Charities secretariat Staff Officer Grade One Lieutenant-Colonel Fabian Chitungo confirmed that fans would be treated to some sublime skills by the two Bulawayo teams before the blockbuster standoff between holders Highlanders and league champions Caps United.
“We have considered Bulawayo-based women teams due to logistical issues and this is just to give them an opportunity to showcase their skills,” said Chitungo.
Zimbabwe Women’s Football vice-chairperson Samukeliso Silengane said they felt humbled by the army commanders’ gesture to give them an opportunity to market their game.
“I approached Lt Col Chitungo during the semi-final clash between Highlanders and FC Platinum at Luveve Stadium and appealed to him to also include us in their programme and we feel humbled that our call has been heeded,” said Silengane.
She said while there might not be any immediate monetary incentive, playing in front of a big audience would help market their game to the corporate world.
“It will make it easier for us to get sponsorship as an organisation and the participating clubs.
“We really want to thank the commanders for helping uplift the girl child through football,” she said.
Indications though are that participation of women teams as curtain raisers could become an annual event for the purposes of inclusivity.
Silengane urged women to come to the final in their numbers since proceeds from the gate takings would go to the army’s five charities, among them the Widows and Orphans which takes care of widows and widowers of soldiers before they receive terminal benefits.
Other charities are the Tsanga Lodge Convalescent Centre in Nyanga for the rehabilitation of injured members of the uniformed forces.
“There is also the ZNA Benevolence Fund for the welfare of the troops on internal, external and international operations.
“It also runs a schools welfare trust for its five secondary and 12 primary schools.