A lot has happened since Rutendo Makore won the golden boot with 10 goals at the COSAFA Women’s Championships in September 2017.
The local 24-team Women Super League failed to complete its league programme due to fissures within the leadership structures, but it is expected to kick off this march, streamlined to 14 teams.
Makore will no longer be part of the local league though, having secured an historic deal to play for Club Sporting Huelva in the Spanish Liga feminina.
Just three months into her loan deal in Europe, the Mighty Warrior has already suffered and recovered from an ankle injury which kept her out of competitive football for two months.
“It’s just that I was injured early on and had to be out for two months, besides that, everything is well now that I am fit.
“I am now working on regaining full fitness so that I can get back to enjoy myself again on the pitch,” she said.
Despite the injury blip early into her Spanish stay, the 25 year old has a remarkable goal return, having scored three times and assisted once.
The European winter was always going to pose initial challenges to Rutendo’s acclimatisation to European football, but she says she has now adapted to the often unpleasantly cold days on the field.
As expected, the level of professionalism and amount of investment directed towards football is miles ahead in Spain compared to Zimbabwean football, which is still principally developmental.
The training regime at Huelva is favourable, just a single evening field training session in the evening between 7 and 9 pm and a gym session in the morning.
Football is universal as a language, but Shona and Spanish aren’t, Google translator has been helpful so far in easing communication challenges. At the training ground, she says one of the girls translates to facilitate communication with the coach.
With Google translator and a human translator always needed for communication, one is bound to be nostalgic about home.
“I miss my family a lot; you know how it is to live a lonely life, only communicating over the phone.
“The time I was in Egypt, I was with Process Chatsamwa (Black Rhinos teammate), and I also miss her, she is like a sister to me,” she reminisced.
Now on her path to full recovery from injury, things are looking up as she scored two goals off the bench in her team’s recent 2-4 defeat to Atletico Madrid.
On the local scene, Rutendo proved that she has the pace, power, skill and precision to score different types of goals; she hasn’t started badly in Spain either.