Grace Chingoma Sports Reporter
TWO young Zimbabwean female footballers, who have found a home in a fourth-tier team in England, believe their move will inspire more women to secure contracts outside the country.
Twenty-one-year-olds, Mitchel Nyakatsapa and Natasha Ndowa, joined a London-based semi-professional team called New London Lioness this year. Their one-year contract is perfomance-based and will be reviewed when the season ends in May.
They are the first Zimbabwe-born players to play in an English League division. They are competing in the amateur competitive women’s association football league based in Greater London. The league is affiliated with the Amateur Football Alliance, Middlesex County Football Association and London Football Association.
The team is in the same league with Watford ladies, Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient.
Although their league is in the fourth-tier in the England Women football pyramid, the experience and exposure they are getting is priceless.
The Herald caught up with Nyakatsapa, who plays in midfield, and said she is enjoying her football.
“I have settled very well at the club. I feel so good to land this opportunity and I am learning a lot about football.
“I am sure my football will develop tremendously and will also contribute to my national team in the near future,” she said.
New London Lioness began their season in September and have so far played three games and won all their matches. And she has scored once.
Before the move to Europe, Nyakatsapa, a former Young Warriors player, was the captain of Maningi Queens and scored 12 goals in the league. She is also a former Glen View High 1 pupil under the Ten Toes Africa Educational scholarship.
Ndowa, who is at home both as an attacking midfielder or striker, has also featured for the Under-20 national team .
She was spotted by Maningi Queens club officials when she was 16 and taken to Harare where she was enrolled under the Ten Toes Africa programme.
She was once drafted into the national team for the Olympic qualifiers and COSAFA Cup.