By Tadious Manyepo
After weeks of isolation at home, Mighty Warriors captain Talent Mandaza, is feeling the heat. She is having to deal with stress and anxiety.
And, this has forced her to have a change of heart.
At 33 years, the Black Rhinos Queens midfielder, who has been in the trenches for the past 17 years, was aiming to win her 10th league title this year and hang her boots.
But, she won’t do that anymore.
“I have already had a rethink,” she said.
“The time I have had, confined at home, literally doing nothing, has taught me the importance of playing football.
“The national lockdown is a necessary weapon to fight the spread of the coronavirus scourge.
“Surely, we cannot be interested in playing football while risking our lives, and of those surrounding us.
“So, staying indoors is a good step towards fighting this pandemic.
“I wanted to retire at the end of this year, if the league had been allowed to start, but its suspension, due to the epidemic, has given me an insight of how life, without football, would be like.
“I haven’t lost my touch anyway, so I won’t be hanging my boots.”
Mandaza, a key figure of the Mighty Warriors since making her break over 10 years ago, has won the league nine times, twice with Mufakose Queens, and on seven occasions with Black Rhinos Queens.
She wanted to spend one year from the game, after retiring, before bouncing back as a coach.
“Sitting at home is good but for someone who is used to be playing football, week in, week out, it becomes difficult.
“The coronavirus pandemic has taught me that going about your daily routines is an exceptional privilege, not a right.
“I now value that chance to be play football more than ever before. I have downloaded some home work-out applications on my mobile phone but, still, you know how boring it is, working out alone without a team around, to motivate you.”
She will be pursuing her coaching badges if everything is back to normal.
“I have a ZIFA Level One coaching badge and I will be working towards attaining the next certificate when things return to normalcy.
“When the time for me to retire finally comes, I will obviously be heading into coaching. I don’t think I will be able to survive without the game.”
Her main pillar of strength her mother.
A teacher by profession, her mother did everything to frustrate Mandaza’s football’s adventure while she was growing up in Mufakose.
“Probably, I wouldn’t have made it all the way in the first place.
“My mother was always against the idea of seeing me playing football while I was growing up in Mufakose.
“She didn’t like it at all. She wanted me to pursue my studies. But, football was in me. I would sneak out and play the game with boys.”
Her mother then whisked her away to Howard High School where she left strict instructions that her daughter should not play football.
“Authorities at Howard High supported me and I am grateful to them. Otherwise I wouldn’t have made it.”
“My mother is now my number one supporter. She held me a surprise party when I returned from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“She is always on my side. I have discussed the issue of retirement with her and she gave me her views.’’ The Herald