Story by Juliet Sithole
Office of Advancement and Public Affairs Media Graduate Trainee
Natasha Muwani and Tadiwanashe Kamusewu are students at Africa University who were part of the Zimbabwean team in the Junior Africa Cup qualifiers for hockey that took place from the 12th to the 17th of March 2023 in Ismailia, Egypt. The 2023 Junior Cup is an International Field Hockey (FIH) competition that takes place once every 2 years for both males and females. The Women’s Hockey Junior Africa Cup, formerly known as the Junior Africa Cup of Nations, is a women’s international under-21 field hockey tournament organised by the African Hockey Federation (AFH), and the same applies to the males also. The hockey tournament has been held since 1988 and serves as a qualification tournament similar to the Men’s FIH Hockey Junior World Cup. Competitors must be under the age of 21 as of December 31 in the year before the tournament is held for them to qualify.
The Junior World Cup is an exhibition of new talent and it is the impeccable platform for young players to unbridle their raw skill onto the international hockey scene. Argentina, Netherlands, Korea and Germany have competed at each Junior World Cup, thus, they have dominated the international competition in past events. Netherlands have been the most prosperous team having won the tourney four times, followed by Korea and Argentina. Germany have won the tournament once since its inception. Also, 31 teams have competed in at least one Junior World Cup, and Zimbabwe is part of those.
The tournament held in Africa at Ismailia, Egypt served as a direct qualifier for the 2023 Junior World Cup, with the winner and runner-up qualifying for the international competitions. South Africa won their fifth title after defeating the defending champions and hosts Egypt in the final 4–3 in a shoot-out after the match finished 2–2 in regular time. The Zimbabwean team came the runners up, thus, occupying the 2nd position for the females and the 4th position for the males. An interesting thing here is that, despite the males occupying the 4th position, Tadiwanashe was the team captain, and is also a student at Africa University. Other qualifiers for the International competition or the World Cup are Spain, South Africa, Chile, Belgium, New Zealand, Netherlands, Germany, England, Australia and Zimbabwe. After occupying the 2nd position, the Zimbabwean females’ team is now heading up for the international competition that will take place in Chile, in December 2023. Thus, Natasha and Tadiwanashe are raising the Africa University flag high by their participation in the international hockey junior cup, and we wish Natasha the best as she is preparing for the FIH World Cup.
Natasha Muwani is a second year student in the College of Social Sciences, Theology Humanities and Education (CSSTHE) studying International Relations. Tadiwanashe Kamusewu is a male, doing his 1.2, studying Social Work (CSSTHE).