The sports industry in Zimbabwe is very big and is expected to grow. People in Zimbabwe like sports so much that some discipline studies related to sports are even taught in schools. The most popular sports in this country are football, rugby, tennis, cricket, polocrosse, and field hockey. Many notable sportsmen who have been regarded for their skills and commitment to sports come from Zimbabwe. Some of them have chosen to represent other countries and compete in international teams and tournaments. However, football is undoubtedly the most popular sport in Zimbabwe: it is widely accepted and Zimbabwean footballers are gifted and grace in many international football clubs.
By the way, if you want to try your luck and place successful punts on some Zimbabwean athletes or sports teams, you should upload the bet app on your smartphone. Betting is nowadays very popular among the natives. This article focuses on the most popular sport in Zimbabwe, the wonderful kind of sport that brings people all over the world together and lifts their spirits – football.
To bring football to the professional level was not so easy and quick for the country. It was a British colony and gained independence only in 1980. That’s why football was originally introduced to Zimbabwe by the British who have popularized the sport. 1965 was important for the development of the sports industry in Zimbabwe: in 1965 was founded the Southern Rhodesian African Football Association, which was later renamed Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA). In 1980 Zimbabwe’s team played its first FIFA World Cup qualifier.
The Zimbabwe national football team (The Warriors) was formerly known as the Football Association of Rhodesia. The first official football match of Rhodesia was the match against the England Amateur national football team in 1929. In 1980 they had the final FIFA qualifying match against Cameroon and in 2004 qualified for their first Africa Cup of Nations, one of the greatest football events in Africa. In 2009 the entire squad was disqualified due to match-fixing. Team Zimbabwe several times made it to the final stage of the African Cup of Nations but has not progressed beyond the group stage. In 1990, the team defeated Botswana 7-0, and it is the biggest achievement of the team.
The Warriors have won the COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup, an important annual football tournament for teams from Southern Africa 6 times and also successfully participated several times in the African Nations Championship. The team always enjoyed a wide range of football legends. The biggest Zimbabwean sports event is undoubtedly the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League, the top professional division in Zimbabwe. Other Zimbabwean Cup games are Zimbabwean Independence Trophy and the Chibuku Super Cup.
The current captain of the Zimbabwe national football team is Knowledge Musona, a notable footballer and a true goal-scoring machine: his goal-scoring record is 80 goals during his career. Musona has played in many renowned foreign football clubs. The center forward of the Warriors, Tinotenda “Tino” Kadewere is a star of the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League and always has had a successful international career as a top footballer.
Hadebe Teenage and Admiral Muskwe are still youngsters (they are 27 and 24 years old respectively) but have already been rewarded for their talents. Muskwe started his professional football career already at the age of nine. The legendary goalkeeper of the Zimbabwean national team was Bruce Grobbelaar who helped the Warriors win more than 30 caps.
Moses Chunga and Norman Mapeza were the other prominent Zimbabwean footballers who played for the Warriors. Chunga has a record of 46 goals in just a single reason, and Mapeza scored more than 90 goals over his brilliant football career. He played three times in the Africa Cup of Nations and two times in the CAF-Champions League and played an influential role in helping the Warriors win different awards. And Mapeza is the current coach of the football team.
Another notable and immensely talented former member of the Warriors was Benjani Mwaruwaru. He was on the team for more than 5 years and played for the team a total of 31 times. PSL Players’ Player of the Season in 2001. After his retirement, he started his successful career as a football coach. Peter Ndlovu, nicknamed “The Flying Elephant ” was the first African footballer in the Premier League who played for top English football clubs and was the coach of the Warriors for some years. Other influential Zimbabwean football players who must be mentioned are Khama Billiat, Blessing Makunike, Marvelous Nakamba, Cuthbert Malajila, Vitalis Takawira, Willard Katsande, Tendai Ndoro, Esrom Nyandoro, Gilbert Mushangazhike, Gift Muzadzi, and Joe Mugabe.
To sum up, as the most popular sport in Zimbabwe football continues to develop and grow; there are more and more talented Zimbabwean footballers who star in the biggest international football teams.