Countless times she has thought and dreamt about it. In fact, it’s a dream she hates to wake up from. That unforgettable night on a historic Mighty Warriors escapade at the Rio Olympics when late in the game she received a pass from Eunice Chibanda, chested it and picked out Merjury Nyaumwe and raced into space.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The return pass did come as she outpaced Australia captain Clare Polkinghorne, controlled and slotted home, before whirling away to lead an extravagant “Dub” celebration at the corner flag.
Any top striker would have been proud, never mind the goal was only a consolation scored in the 91st minute to make the scoreline 6-1.
It remains a night Mighty Warriors mercurial midfielder Emmaculate Msipa will never forget.
“I have thought about the goal a lot of times and I have dreamt about it a number of times. I will never forget it because it was my first goal at such a big stage against a team ranked in the top 10 in the world. It was the best moment of my career, if I can say,” Msipa reflected on the August 9, 2016 goal in an interview with The Sports Hub.
Regardless of the poor preparations ahead of the Olympics due to lack of funding, the Mighty Warriors exuded a fighting spirit under difficult circumstances that captured the imagination of the world.
Even Manchester City and Belgium captain Vincent Kompany took to twitter to relay words of encouragement for the Mighty Warriors.
But that has been the story of their lives since time immemorial to be treated as second-rate athletes for all their sacrifice and heroics.
Yet they always pick themselves up and fight with their all in their next encounter.
“Ours is a story of passion and pain. The passion we have for this game can never be matched as well as the motivation at the thought of representing our country. We love what we do and we have managed to convince each other that one day things will be okay for us in future. All we need to do is to continue doing our best,” the 25-year-old box-to-box midfielder said.
How they received $5 transport tokens upon return from Brazil has been well documented just like how they never got to get the housing stands promised them more than two years ago.
It’s no secret that the team has gone hungry too many times while in camp and at one point had dried kapenta for relish.
Most have nothing to show for all their achievements, but the passion continues to override the pain.
Msipa hoped that her goal at the Olympics would open doors for a professional contract in Europe but 20 months on she is still bossing the midfield for Black Rhinos Queens.
“I thought playing and even scoring at the Olympics was going to open doors for me and many other talented players in our team, but it did not. It’s still my dream to play in Europe, but I am not putting pressure on myself because I can still achieve it later in my career,” she said.
Growing up in Budiriro in a family where she is the only girl among five boys who love football, Msipa had little say on what career path she was going to take.
“I think football just runs in the blood. I have five brothers who are soccer players although they didn’t reach the level I have attained. They all have been a big influence on my career,” she said.
Msipa is probably one of the best passers of the ball in the Mighty Warriors squad yet she has an eye for goal.
She was on target when the national team despatched Namibia 2-0 at Rufaro three weeks ago and will play another important role when the Mighty Warriors play rivals Zambia in the next round in June.