Ngqabutho Moyo Sports Reporter
BULAWAYO women’s football giants and NetOne Charity Shield champions Inline Academy made the city proud by regaining lost pride at the weekend.
Inline Academy won the NetOne Charity Shield in Harare, beating Black Rhinos 5-4 on penalties.
Since the birth of organised competition among women in the game in 1988 following Ndumiso Gumede’s exposure to the sport in Germany, Bulawayo clubs have dominated the scene for the better part of the last 26 years with Highlanders Royals, New Orleans and Inline Academy winning the lion’s share of honours.
But in recent years Cyclone Queens, Mufakose Queens and Black Rhinos had seemingly taken over with Inline bringing that to an end and there is renewed confidence of better things to come.
Inline Academy have a junior development programme that looks well oiled and is promising to churn out more stars going into the future.
The city’s queens highlighted spectacular football which proved better beating Harare side Black Rhinos on penalties.
Eliot Mpofu, the chairperson of Inline Academy, said that the club was looking forward to maintaining its supremacy in women’s football and continue to make the city proud.
The soccer academy has produced some of the nation’s best female local players who have shone like beacons locally and internationally like prolific striker Rudo Neshamba who was loaned to Botswana side Double Action. She impressed in the neighbouring country scoring 14 goals in less than half a season and clubmate Talent Mazetese did well too.
“We have been admired for our discipline,” said Mpofu.
Players like Rejoice Kampfumvuti, Rudo Neshamba, Rhoda Jongondi, Pamela Bvochora, skipper Nobuhle Majika and goalkeeper Sukoluhle Ndlovu have been part of the national team set up.
The club was formed in 2002 with girls who were under the age of 15 as a way of contributing to the physical well being of the girl child in the city.
Having sown seeds for the future, in 2006 Inline Academy won the right to represent the country in the Norway Cup in Oslo and there was no turning back with the club growing from strength to strength into toppling New Orleans as city football champions.
Mpofu said discipline had been a key factor emphasised by club founder Trust Kwembeya from the beginning.
On Sunday six Black Rhinos players fell foul of the soccer statutes after they allegedly assaulted Mercy Maimbo, the referee, after the match.
“Soccer is a beautiful sport and some actions are uncalled for. We are proud that we have never had any of our girls display such uncalled for actions towards officials,” said Mpofu.
Kwembeya said he was happy that the girls had won the tournament in Harare.
“They fought gallantly for the pride of women’s football in Bulawayo. We have dominated for the past 26 years, it was great that we returned to winning ways at national level.
“I hope this is a sign of better things to come,” said Kwembeya.