Mighty Warriors and Faith Drive Queens forward, Maud Mafuruse, is on the verge of becoming the youngest female footballer to play for a European club.
Mafuruse leaves the country for Iceland on Monday afternoon, where she will spend three months on trial at an Icelandic Women’s Premier Division club, IBV football club.
Currently just 18, Mafuruse already has three national team caps, the first coming in a match against Egypt at Rufaro stadium in 2016, on a day the Mighty Warriors played arguably their best game in recent years.
Two international friendlies came in succession against Zambia and South Africa, and Mafuruse was there as the national team prepared for the Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) finals played in December 2016.
She made it into the AWCON squad which went to Cameroon as dark horses for the ultimate prize, if Zimbabwe’s spirited performances at the Rio Olympics earlier (August) was anything to go by.
There was little rest for Maud when the Mighty Warriors were eliminated at the group stage; she joined the national under_20 side headed for the African Union Sports Council Region Five games in Angola.
In a squad with experienced players at the AWCON finals, Mafuruse did not feature for the team; but she got a shot at the Region Five games, and her performances have earned her an invitation for trials in Europe.
She is excited at the prospect of playing in Europe, and she is upbeat that she will convince the club to sign her at the end of her trial period.
“It will happen for me; I have played at a high level before, so I am not scared anymore.
“I will do my best to convince them to sign me, it is an opportunity that I cannot afford to let slip,” Maud said.
For someone who has been playing since early primary school days, the confidence is justified; she won accolades with the Manicaland select junior team at tournaments sponsored by Tanganda and Milo in Gweru and Kwekwe respectively.
Mafuruse has been at Faith drive since she was eleven, and she is the first product of the club to get an invitation for trials abroad, a reason for club director, Dr Nelia Musikavanhu, to be elated.
“We are proud right now, of her, and of our efforts to get such recognition after devoting so much resources towards the project.
“There are a lot of challenges out there; often, people discourage me from investing in football, saying there is no return on my investment.
“Of course, I disregard their concerns because I have a passion and nothing will deter me from pursuing it.
“She has been with us for a very long time, and to see her through this stage of her career is a dream come true; I hope she opens the doors for others like her who are back the club.
“I wish her all the best, I am confident in her ability to make the grade in Iceland,” Dr Musikavanhu said.
Mike Fola Dokunmu, a FIFA players’ intermediary based in South Africa is organising the trial and a possible deal for Mafuruse in Iceland.