Meet the Gems’ Smiling Assassin

Veronica Gwaze in Cape Town, South Africa

SOME call her Stretchy while others prefer “Smiling Assassin” as she has a habit of burying the opponent while wearing a very wide smile.

It is barely a year since she burst onto the Zimbabwe Senior Netball team, yet Elizabeth Mushore has become theA most trusted Goal Keeper.

Mushore treated fans to a spectacular 60 minutes of massive action Wednesday when the Gems walloped Singapore 68-40 at the ongoing 2023 Netball World Cup.

Emerging as Player of the Match, Mushore recorded 31 Deflections, 13 Intercepts and 17 Defensive Rebounds during the clash.

Although the Gems are now fighting for 13th position after failing to pick a win in all their three pool A matches, the coach’s rebuilding exercise is slowly paying off.

The 22-year-old Mushore has made a name for herself as a vital cog for the team although this is just her second national duty.

In fact, from her Gems debut, last year at the World Cup Qualifiers, one could tell that the lanky star had potential written all over her.

The Platinum Queen, who had been introduced as a third quarter replacement for Tanaka Makusha blew up the arena with outstanding and well-calculated movements.

This earned her a spot as one of the most favorites on the team.

And this time, she has featured in all the Gems’ fixtures at the prestigious tournament so far.

“I never thought a day like this would come so soon, so far this has been a learning curve for me and such a feat was somehow a future dream,” she said.

“Not that I doubt myself, but being at such a tournament for the first time, there is so much to learn and even maturing in the game is a process.

“The competition here is very intense, I knew what a World Cup call meant but experiencing it is another thing, I have learnt a lot.”

The towering star dedicated the MVP recognition to her parents.

Mushore’s initiation into netball was in fact tough.

She recalls how her father never wanted her to play netball during her school days in Shamva.

Her situation was tough to an extent that she failed to feature on what would have been her first National Youth Games appearance in Victoria Falls in 2017 when her father refused to allow her to travel with the team.

Interestingly, the following year, she was again selected to play at the National Youth Games in Hwange.

Somehow having noted the passion she had for the game, this time, her father allowed her to go.

“I would always run away from home to go and play netball and often got into trouble for it so I think that made my father realise how much I loved netball,” chuckled Mushore.

“I got a chance to enroll at a boarding school (Pamushana High School) through netball, I boarded a plane for the first time and I am now my family’s breadwinner because of sport.”

The Reformed Church University, Degree in Social Work student showered praises to Platinum Queens coach Simbarashe Mlambo for handing her a lifeline.

It is the Mlambo who spotted Mushore at the 2018 Youth Games, offered her a Pamushana Scholarship and transformed her into a professional player.

“Among others, Pamushana’s Mr Mlambo literally gave me a life and to let him down at this point is not an option which is why I work so hard,” she said.

“Although we lost some of our crucial matches, I am happy that we found ways of improving our mental strength because at such tournaments everything is about mental aptitude.

“This is to say every quarter is a new game, and we have to fight as a team right up to the end.”

Interestingly, Mushore is the most trusted Goal Shooter at her club and had to be converted into a Defender at the national team.

Yet she handles the position with so much ease and confidence.

And she believes that the World Cup could be a springboard for lucrative moves for the Gems.

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