Where is the love?

Rufaro Machingura was part of the Mighty Warriors squad which stepped on Brazilian soil for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The games were held in the city of Rio de Janeiro and Machingura was part of the Shadreck Mlauzi-coached side which made history by becoming the first Zimbabwe national team to book a place at the global spectacle.

Machingura, just like all 12 500 athletes who took part at the 2016 Olympics, got a Samsung Galaxy S7 from giant multinational electronics company Samsung.

Since they were based in Sao Paulo, the Zimbabwe players missed out on collecting their smart phones at the Olympics Village in de Janeiro as individuals, resulting in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) releasing the devices as a single package.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) confisticated the package when it entered the country with the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) and it took more than a year for Machingura and her Mighty Warriors teammates to get the handsets.

Six years after that regrettable account, Machingura sadly passed away at her Waterfalls home after a long illness aged 30.

Her family appealed for assistance in both cash and kind to enable a befitting burial for the fformer Zimbabwe international, resulting in the intervention of funeral company Doves.

“Following an appeal for help for the burial of the late Mighty Warriors striker Rufaro Machingura by her family , Doves has stepped up and will take care of the burial from casket provision and all burial related services,” Doves said in a statement.

Ironically, the burial of Machingura at Zororo Memorial Park, saw the former Mighty Warriors star intered in a casket wrapped with the Zimbabwean flag.

How will the sporting world react to the news that the family of a player who served the country for years and even took part at the Qlympic games, could not afford a decent burial for her?

Are female footballers in Zimbabwe being paid competitive salaries for their self sustainability?

“We are struggling to put food on the table. I am using kombis. I can’t even buy fuel for my small car. It is expensive and I cannot manage it,” says Mighty Warriors and ZPC Queens star Marjory Nyaumwe, who just like Machingura, took part in the 2016 Olympics.

“When people see me, they greet me. They recognize me in the streets because I play for the national team.

“They get confused to see me using kombis. Sadly, I do have a car but I can’t afford fuel,” added Nyaumwe.

Female footballers in Zimbabwe have been priced out of a decent standard of living not only because the local game has nosedived along with the country’s economy but they are just not respected and appreciated enough.

What they are offered affects their mental health due to the status of being public figures and some of them resort to drug abuse due to not having anything to show for their efforts.

“They (the authorities) don’t even care about our well-being,” says a Mighty Warriors star who asked not to be named.

“There was a time when we used to eat sadza and matemba (dried kapenta) for dinner while on national duty and then given USD5 after representing the game.

“The glamour associated with one representing her country, is just not there. Sometimes we don’t tell our families how we are treated while on national duty, because they will discourage us.

“We love the game, but the love is not reciprocated. People judge some of us for resorting to drugs but the truth is, we play the game wholeheartedly but our efforts are just not appreciated. We have nothing because they see us as nothing,” added the player.

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