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Harare dominates handball championships

Women's silver medalists, Bulawayo Handball Club pose for a photo during the tournament at UZ in Harare last week

HARARE-based handball clubs topped the charts scooping gold medals at the annual University of Zimbabwe clubs championships in Harare last week.

The two-day tournament featured clubs from across the country and attracted 13 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams.

The contest concluded with a victory for the Harare city Kings who beat losing finalists Manyame Falcons 11-9 in an all-Harare final which lasted 20 minutes.

In the women’s category, Manyame Sparrows scooped the gold medal winning 10-5 against Bulawayo Handball Club.

Harare City Kings captain Darren Nyakudya was delighted with the team’s success in the competition.

“It is amazing to win such a trophy and we just want to give thanks to all the Kings, as well as our coach Tafadzwa Madure for making this victory possible. After losing so many important players we feel like we are now picking up our good form and we hope for the best in the upcoming tournament,” Nyakudya said.

“Winning this UZ trophy is a pleasure that will never leave us as citizens just to have our hands on this trophy for the second time since 2018, and we hope to be able to enjoy it for many years to come.”

Losing finalists Manyame Falcons captain Shemiah Bota still believes their team is the best in the northern region, and attributed the loss to overworking in the semi-finals.

“We are the best team in Harare and best club in Zimbabwe, but for our final we lost because I believe we overworked in our quarter finals against our fierce rivals Tigers then semis against Ajax," Bota  said. We wanted to show them we are the best but we couldn't maintain the energy in the final, though we displayed beautiful handball for others to enjoy.”

In the individual prizes, Nyakudya was awarded the most valuable player accolade in the men’s competition while Fortunate Zisengwe from Manyame Sparrows emerged the women’s most valuable player.

The best goalkeeper for men was Ronald Magamura from Manyame Eagles, and Tanaka Chekwa from Bulawayo Handball Club took the female best goal keeper.

The men’s top goal scorer title went to Peter Chabarwa from Manyame Falcons and in the women category Beauty Mashamba from Bulawayo was the top goal scorer for the tournament.

Bulawayo Handball Club women captain Memory Mushayi said the silver medal for the team was a good reflection on the club as they have fought to be recognised in the country.

“As a captain I feel great considering that early this year we scooped bronze at the open season tournament," Mushayi said. So we are indeed stepping up. As a team we need to improve our combinations and fitness. However, I find it an achievement that we beat the Harare City Queens and that gives me motivation that the team can do better in future.”

Manyame Sparrows have always topped the league every year and scooped a gold medal once again.

Team captain Yanai Manyonga said she was happy that the team managed to defend their title.

“As a team we feel happy to win the gold medal again," Manyonga said. It’s not always easy keeping up with the pressure of trying to defend your title yearly. So I'm greatly blessed to have a humble team that is disciplined and knows we fight for something as a team.”

She added that the tournament is nationally recognized and so deserved more coverage, more playing days, and hoped that clubs from all provinces could participate.

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