BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
AS a kid, Zimbabwe ladies cricket team captain Mary-Anne Musonda dreamt of a white collar job preferably in the marketing world.
That was only until the late cricket coach at Kwekwe High School, Craig Majawa, literally nicked her from the hockey team back in 2004.
And 16 years later, Musonda is dreaming about captaining the Zimbabwe cricket team to the World Cup before she can call time on her career.
The Zimbabwe women cricket team had a shot at the T20 World Cup last year, but missed out on the final qualifiers in Scotland after the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended the country’s membership due to government interference in the administration of the sport.
And that heartbreak remains easily the worst moment of her decade-and-a-half-long career.
“The worst (moment of my career) was when we were denied a chance to play in the global qualifiers in Scotland in 2019, after working hard to qualify. It remains a moment I wish I could forget, it continuously stings,” the 29-year-old cricketer said in an exclusive interview.
Last year could have easily been Musonda’s best after she helped the team win the Africa Region World Cup qualifiers in May, and was also selected into the third intake of the ICC Women’s Global Development Squad.
She eventually missed out on the trip to England to add to the misery of missing World Cup qualifiers.
Zimbabwe also missed out on tours to Ireland and the Netherlands as a result of the suspension while a number of engagements have been affected by Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s a difficult situation to be in to be honest. Being met with circumstances you have no control over, continuously is not easy. We have tried and we continue be resilient towards making it to the top. We are a team of people who understand what’s at stake; our mental strength has been put to the test. Our success story will be different I guess,” she said.
In the midst of all the frustration, it remains Musonda’s dream to captain the Zimbabwe team at the World Cup.
“Before throwing in the towel I would like to lead the team to the World Cup. It is also something the whole team dreams about and continuously works on,” she revealed.
But for Musonda, she still has a chance to pursue a white collar profession after she excelled in her academic studies and boasts of a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree in Business Finance from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Zimbabwe captain also completed her Master of Commerce in Development Finance at the University of Cape Town.
She recalls how her dreams immediately changed the moment she came into contact with cricket.
“Growing up I wanted to have a white collar job, and be involved in marketing. But at the end of high school I then felt that I could take cricket seriously.
“I did not dream about one day leading the (national cricket) side, but rather just wished to be a player who would keep contributing to the team in whatever capacity,” she said.
“I fell in love with the game at 13 during high school. I liked sports and so I was involved in a lot of sports at the same time.
“I got introduced to cricket while playing hockey, and became inquisitive about it.
“Cricket has shaped the way I see things, I guess as a result of the exposure effect it has in one’s life. It has also made me understand and appreciate the value of networking and team work in performing tasks and achieving goals,” Musonda said.
Apart from cricket, Musonda has also played basketball turning out for Vixens in the Harare Basketball League.
Musonda is positive about the future of ladies’ cricket in Zimbabwe.
“The future of women’s cricket in Zimbabwe will depend on the long-term plans which Zimbabwe Cricket has and how well those plans will be executed.
“The (recent) introduction of the selection panel is a step towards the right direction and a glimpse of what is perhaps a broader plan. There is a lot to be done to ensure women’s cricket develops in the country, in order to harness and nurture the talent that is evidently present, and to make the Lady Chevrons a strong and globally competitive team,” she said.
Looking back, the Zimbabwe captain paid tribute to her mother, who has been involved in her career and allowed her to choose her path at a very young age.
Regardless of her academic achievements, Musonda has chosen the cricket path and everything else has to play second fiddle.
“I have committed to cricket full-time at the moment, but remain open to options which can fit my schedule to get the most out of my spare time, to fully develop my life,” she said.
Having played for KwaZulu-Natal Inland in South Africa before, it is also her dream to play in elite leagues and rubbing shoulders with other top players around the world.