Magaya lifted the Mega Nhanga and 3rd Edition  Girls Soccer Tournament this year. The team had a stronger reason to fight their way to the finals as a way of honouring their late School Headmaster Mr. Golden Bare who passed on a few days before the major event.

In collaboration with the African Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage, Dr Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda and partners, Rozaria Memorial Trust hosted the Mega Nhanga and 3rd Edition Girls Soccer Tournament from the 17th to the 19th of June in commemoration of the Day of the African Child (DAC) which was under the theme “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practice Since 2013”. The specific theme for the Mega Nhanga and 3rd Edition Girls Soccer Tournament was “Kicking Out Child Marriages.”

Mr Golden Bare served at Magaya for over 10 years. His dedication for uplifting girls living in rural communities through sport motivated the Magaya team to sail their way through to the finals. Team captain for Magaya, AnnaMercy Muradzi said, “Winning the  tournament was an expression of appreciation for his efforts in ending child marriage within Magaya community and promoting girls participation in Sport.”

Magaya Football Team Celebrating their Win
Magaya Football Team Celebrating their Win

Magaya faced MTC Sirens in the final match. The game ended with a 0-0 draw and commenced to penalties where Magaya won 4-2. The team battled it’s way to the top regardless of the stiff competition from the other teams.

Tendai Zisengwe, of Magaya, who won the best keeper of the tournament said they deserved to win.

“This trophy is dedicated to Mr Bare. We won it in honor of his great work at Magaya Secondary School. Soccer has taught us resilience, teamwork and self-reliance, the most critical skills that provide girls with the social qualities needed to build self-confidence and create strong communities,” said Zisengwe.

Magaya vs MTC Sirens final match
Magaya vs MTC Sirens final match

The RMT Executive Director as well as the Africa Union Ambassador on ending Child Marriage, Dr Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda congratulated Magaya team and all the teams that participated.

“Congratulations to Magaya and all teams that participated. Let us all go home knowing that every girl is a winner. As we go back, let us remember to blow the whistle. When we see a girl child being abused, let us blow the whistle, when a girl below the age of 18 is forced into marriage, let us blow the whistle. Just as the referees blow the whistle in soccer, let us as well blow the whistles to ensure that no child is married before the age of 18,” said Dr Gumbonzvanda.

14 teams from across the country participated to allow for a cultural exchange as well as the dissemination of the newly enacted Marriages Act 5.15 of 2022 which criminalises child marriage and comes at the backdrop of the landmark ruling Kamwenda vs. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to raise the age of consent to 18 years.

The event was critical in rebuilding the strength and confidence of girls in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.  This was a significant move to empower girls with knowledge and skills to help build the confidence and autonomy to hold leaders accountable and know the health and psychological benefits of sport. RMT utilised the tournament to host a series of Nhanga sessions with girls and young women on issues of drug abuse facilitated by Football Ambassadors of Zimbabwe, girls’ rights and child marriage in the context of COVID-19.

Mbuya Rozaria in whose memory the organisation was formed was an avid sports fan. When she passed away, Rozaria Memorial Trust in honour of this aspect of her life launched the inaugural Rozaria Girls Soccer Tournament in 2017. She was a member of Magaya school sports committee even long after her children had finished school.