The Sunday Mail
“A passionate woman is worth all the chaos.”
This adage aptly describes Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano’s life as a Lady Chevrons.
The 29-year-old batswoman is currently with the Zimbabwe women’s cricket team in Botswana, where they are taking part in ICC Women T20 World Cup 2023 Africa Qualifiers.
However, what separates her from the rest of her teammates is that the middle-order batswoman is also in camp with her three-month-old baby, Reuel.
The little bundle of joy is her third child with Chevrons’ seamer Donald Tiripano.
With her husband also on duty with the senior men’s team, touring Ireland and Scotland, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) had to make special provisions for Mugeri-Tiripano to travel with both her baby and a childminder for the tournament.
But what drives such commitment?
“lt is because of the love, passion, self-belief and respect l have for the game,” she said.
“I had to make a quick return to action after giving birth, having waited for my baby to get to three months before coming back.
“During my maternity leave, I trained bit by bit at home and this made my comeback during the Thailand games easier.
“l was ready to join the team.”
The former Lady Chevrons captain made a triumphant return to international cricket during the Thailand visit, scoring back-to-back half-centuries in her first two matches.
At the ongoing tournament, the Lady Chevrons are in group A with hosts Botswana, Tanzania, Eswatini, Mozambique and Rwanda.
Cameroon, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda make up the other group.
The top two teams from each group will proceed to the semi-finals, slated for September 17, while the third-place playoffs and finals are set for September 19.
Only winners of the regional contest will proceed to the global tournament to be held in South Africa in 2023.
The 29-year-old mother of three is yet to realise her childhood dream of playing at the Cricket World Cup.
This is what drives her.
However, life in camp has not been easy.
There is the bio-secure bubble to contend with, and then a baby and childminder, too.
Her routine includes waking up at six in the morning, training, a short break and then more training.
She also has to attend to her baby in-between, and then game days.
“Life in camp with the baby is hard, especially in middle of the pandemic,” she said.
“With the help of my team, it is becoming easier every day.
“We have become family over the years.”
Mugeri has over the years bonded with her teammates after making her international debut in 2008 at the World Cup qualifiers in South Africa.
She was just 15 at the time.
Since then, she has made it her goal to fulfil her dream of playing at the World Cup.
“When playing ODIs, l have a pump session during lunch time,” she said.
“It is hectic because I need at least 20 minutes for that and then use the remaining 20 to prepare for the other inning.
“Around 5pm, when we return to the rooms, that is when I reunite with the baby.
“It is all about time management.
“l need to do what l am supposed to do at the right time I need to do it.”
She feels there is still a lot at stake, and with her husband’s unwavering support, she will achieve much more.
“It is a blessing to have a husband who always encourages you to do what you love,” said the Lady Chevrons senior player.
“He understands my passion, which is why he had no problem letting me camp with our baby.
“He even pushes me wherever I feel like giving up.
“Cricket means a lot to us as family.
“We are earning a living through it and we both love the game.
“My dream is to play at the World Cup against the big teams and this is what drives me.”
Donald Tiripano commended Zimbabwe for creating a conducive environment for his wife to pursue her dreams.
“We need to give women access and opportunity to participate in sport at any given time.
“They need to feel ready despite societal expectations, and it is us who can change the social narrative and create a friendly space for women,” he said.
“Like every other player, women, my wife included, have their personal goals too, and it is our role to support them in working towards achieving them.”