We managed to catch up with Zambezi Lions at one of their training sessions and interviewed a few of them on what playing for the ‘Lions’ meant to them.
Gift “Sunnie” Ncube - Position: Goalkeeper, Age: 15
“I love playing for the Zambezi Lions because our team has got a good-looking uniform and we play our football as a united team. The atmosphere here is always great, even during training sessions, because the coaches and ALERT always encourage and support us.”
He says, before playing for Zambezi Lions he didn’t pay a lot of attention to the environment and did not know that he could also play some influential role in conserving it. He now says he has learnt a lot through Zambezi Lions and now understands that everyone has got some part to play if we are going to prevent lions or any other species from going extinct. Gift says he can now talk confidently about what is happening to the African lion to his friends at school because of what he has learned at Zambezi Lions. Gift dreams of one day playing for a big football club. At present he is Mosi-A-Tonya High School 1st choice goalkeeper, a school that is based in Victoria Falls.
Shepherd “Piro” Lupondo - Position: Defender, Age: 14
“The uniform is really nice, looks a whole better than all the other teams we play against. Makes us feel us special. The team has helped me in getting school fees as my family sometimes struggles to get it. The coaches and my teammates are really supportive and have helped me a lot both in my football and family life.”
He says, lions are an important part of the African heritage and playing for the Lions has helped him understand better their importance and how it’s important that everyone plays his or her part in preserving this specie for generations to come.
Nomazulu Tshuma - Striker, Age 17
Being the only ‘lioness’ in the Zambezi Lions she has risen above everyone’s expectations by playing competitively against her male compatriots and commanding a regular starting place in the team, as well as notching up some important goals which has made her a crowd favourite whenever she features for the team. Not only has she broken records by being the first female to play for the Zambezi Lions, she has also attracted national interest. Earlier in the year she caught the eye of the Zimbabwe Women's national team coach Rosemary Mugadza and was subsequently called for trials.
Nomazulu says playing for the Zambezi Lions has really improved her soccer skills and has boosted her confidence. She says lions are wonderful animals and in addition to playing football she has also learnt the importance of conserving the environment and wildlife.Her message to all the girls out there is that they should pursue their dreams and not let their gender or any other limitations stop them.
You can read more about the purpose behind this initiative here
(L -R) Bukosi Ncube / Evans Mavisela / George Mufunda
(L -R) Ishmael Musaka / Lorenzo Chinoda / Lymon Nxumalo
(L -R) Nomazulu Tshuma / Shepherd Lupondo / Prislow Mabena
(L -R) Tavashivira Nhongo / Thabiso Dlodlo / Warrick Siwela