The prayer that got Gems to World Cup

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SPORT - Veron­ica Gwaze

ZIM­BABWE se­nior net­ball as­sis­tant coach Ropafadzo Mut­sauki is val­ued for his tech­ni­cal as­tute­ness as well as his spir­i­tu­al­ity in the Gems dress­ing room.

At the re­cently held African Cham­pi­onships in Lusaka, Zam­bia, the Gems’ as­sis­tant gaffer could be heard pray­ing for the Gems dur­ing the wee hours of the morn­ing.

Mut­sauki is a mem­ber of the Jo­hane Ma­sowe apos­tolic sect and to him, the tour­na­ment which saw the Gems qual­ify for the 2019 World Cup fi­nals in Liver­pool, was a bat­tle that needed both hard work and prayer.

“I would pray ev­ery day, de­vot­ing the en­tire tour­na­ment to God be­cause from a spir­i­tual per­spec­tive, I un­der­stand that prayer is the only weapon that can make dreams come true,” said Mut­sauki, who is also the Un­der 21 na­tional coach.

On the do­mes­tic scene, Mut­sauki has trans­formed Su­per League side Harare City Net­ball Queens into a for­mi­da­ble side and it came as no sur­prise when the side pro­vided five play­ers to the na­tional squad dur­ing the World Cup Qual­i­fiers.

“I iden­tify raw tal­ent and nur­ture it,” said Mut­sauki.

“How­ever, of all the teams I have as­sem­bled in my ca­reer, Harare City has made me a proud man, es­pe­cially be­cause five of my play­ers made it into the Gems squad.”

Mut­sauki, who has 21 years of net­ball coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, is a strict coach who doesn’t hes­i­tate to bench even star play­ers if they mis­be­have.

He be­lieves coach­ing goes be­yond teach­ing play­ers what to do on the court, but ex­tends to ‘the dis­ci­pline room and fur­ther to the prayer room’.

Ahead of cru­cial games, Mut­sauki is known for tak­ing some of his will­ing play­ers to church for prayers.

“To me, there is more to a player than play­ing on the pitch. lf we over­look the char­ac­ter mold­ing and the spir­i­tual side of a player, we are not go­ing any­where.

“Sport needs to take a holis­tic ap­proach when deal­ing with play­ers so that we are able to pro­duce a to­tal or a well-groomed player. Dis­ci­pline is key,” he em­pha­sized. Gems head coach Lloyd Makunde is full of Mut­sauki praises.

“He is in­deed an as­set that I trea­sure much in my ca­reer be­cause we are a click­ing com­bi­na­tion which has birthed a healthy work­ing re­la­tion­ship.

“His ex­pe­ri­ence has added value to the na­tional col­ors and above all, he is a prayer war­rior who has taught me that prayer con­quers all,” said Makunde.

Ropafadzo Mut­sauki

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