HIGHLANDERS Royals FC legend and Wall of Famer Elizabeth Moyo believes the formation of the club in 1988 was long overdue as women had for a long time been marginalised.
She said women had played a pivotal role in the club’s history. It was only logical that the institution found room for the girl child to explore her talents in a sport considered the world’s most beautiful and biggest by participation numbers and audience.
Moyo said even within the Bosso family other women were already active mentioning basketball, darts and hockey which were already in existence when they came into being.
She added that Bosso could not continue to look at women to vote, cook for the team, treat ill sons and husbands apart from caring for developing young players.
Were a Wall of Fame to be introduced at Highlanders, many believe she would with ease line up among other club legends Madinda Ndlovu, Tymon Mabaleka, Adam Ndlovu, Peter Ndlovu, Samukeliso Mahlangu, the Chiradza sisters Fungai and Judith, Nomsa Moyo, Rose Mugadza and Sikhangele Sibanda.
“It actually took far too long to establish a women’s football team. That should have been in place earlier as football’s pull factor has always been there with girls having kickabouts even before Independence in 1980.
“Growing up in Luveve, I used to play football in the streets with boys. We played umareyitshana and omalalisa. I was not the only girl, they were many elsewhere in the country but sadly most never got a chance to explore their talents. I did and made the most of it,” said Moyo, now a Mrs Ncube with four children and six grandchildren.
Moyo was part of the pioneering team of 1988 that dominated the proceedings nationally before passing on the baton to New Orleans.
At school she was outstanding in athletics representing both Matshayisikhova Primary School and Luveve High in sprints, relays and long distances.
Her feat saw her engaged by the One Brigade Headquarters Sports Department as an athlete. She started playing football there outside the school perimeters with the likes of another Royals legend Samukeliso Mahlangu.
A friendly match in 1988 with Highlanders Royals saw her invited to the club by Dumisani Sibanda.
“Things started shaping up in 1989 when we joined forces with a number of girls at Bosso and we formed one of the best teams with players like Benita, Suku Dube, Samu, Bridget Zimunya, Judith and Fungai Chiradza. We won the Purline Trophy beating Dynamos Queens who had been in existence for much longer. I remember scoring two goals and creating most of those,” said the former Mighty Warriors left side winger.
She was so good that she made the first Mighty Warriors cut and travelled to South Africa in 1990 sponsored by Malcom King of Khatshana Transport where they lost 3-2.
Moyo played several times for the national team and retired in 2000 from both the army and game having won several individual awards.
She was a delight to watch taking on defenders down the wing then cutting in Madinda Ndlovu style to shoot at goal. Her passes and crosses made many stars at the Royals.
Moyo says the game has lagged behind because of the economy.
She says girls have the potential to scale greater heights if identified early and taken through proper athlete development.
Pele, as she was affectionately known, believes women have a greater role to play in Highlanders going forward. She says one day some will rise to occupy influential positions at the club.
“We have the numbers in our population. We cannot afford to play a peripheral role, women will someday rise and run the club. They need to be given a chance and not be left to be backbenchers,” she added.
Meanwhile, Highlanders spokesperson Ronald Moyo says the club is unlikely to celebrate its 95th birthday because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Highlanders FC was formed in 1926 by grandsons of Matabeleland Royalty Albert and Rhodes.
With Hwange, Zimbabwe Saints and Shabanie FC it rates among the oldest football teams in Southern Africa.
With Bosso 100 years old in 2026, the race is on to see whether women will have catapulted to notable powerful positions within the club.