The Sunday Mail
The 23-year-old Mighty Warriors striker has been the centre of attraction after her goal sank Cameroon and took Zimbabwe to the Olympic Games at Rufaro last Sunday.
The dreadlocked predator, who was also on target as the Mighty Warriors fell 1-2 in the first leg, is among the continent’s leading scorers with three goals during the qualifying tournament.
However, of all the goals that Neshamba has scored, last Sunday’s eight minute beauty has to be the best of the lot both in terms of quality and significance.
“It was a good goal and I am honoured to have scored a goal that means so much to the nation of Zimbabwe,” said Neshamba.
“It has been a long and arduous journey indeed, but we pulled through against all odds. It feels good to be the heroine, the lady whose goal wrote a new piece of history.
“But everyone in the team should be saluted. The defenders played their part in preserving that slender lead at Rufaro, the keeper made some good saves and the fans cheered us on so it was a team effort.
“The nation is elated and to us it is a lifetime achievement to be at the Olympics. It is a good marketing platform for the players.”
While Neshamba is being hailed as the heroine, the striker is doing her best to avoid the limelight.
She is taking a back seat during the functions that the team has been attending following their Olympic heroics.Veteran linkman Marjory Nyaumwe, skipper Felistus “Figo” Muzongondi and the affable Rutendo “Madzimai” Makore are stealing the show while Neshamba tries her best to go unnoticed in her dark sunglasses.
“Such is her nature, she is just cool and not one to beat her own drum and say ‘I am the one who did this’,” revealed goalkeeper Chido Dzingirai.
Skipper Muzongondi said it has been their culture to work as a team and enjoy the fruits as a group.
“It is good to have a good striker like Rudo (Neshamba) but we always encourage each other to work as a team.
“We grew up together, faced all the difficulties together and this has made us a strong unit,” said Muzongondi, a former student of Harare City coach Taurai Mangwiro at Don Bosco Primary School in Masvingo.
But while her football career is blossoming, Neshamba is preparing for life after the game.
She is studying journalism at a local college and is already a holder of a Level 1 coaching certificate.
“One has to secure his or her future hence this need to study. I also have a certificate in video filming and editing apart from my five ‘O’ Levels.
“I want to remain focused and I know God will provide,” she said.
Football took her to Norway at the age of 14, flew her to various other international destinations and has won her numerous accolades.
But the thought of going to the Olympics makes the striker go gaga.
“I have scored a number of important goals for my country, I played in the Botswana league during the 2013 season, was named the best player in the league in 2012…quite some achievements.
“However, being at the Olympics does not compare to all that, it’s another world I guess. I hope to continue with this form and help my country do well at the Olympics,” she said.