Collin Matiza in HAMBURG, Germany
HISTORY was made at the weekend when Mashrhino, a handball select side from Mashonaland West, became the first team from Africa to compete in the Hanse Cup tournament here in Hamburg, Germany.The Hanse Cup is an annual junior handball tournament which has mainly been restricted to club sides from Germany and fellow European Union countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and France.
The tournament is mainly designed for junior players from the Under-15 to Under-17 age-groups for both boys and girls and is organised annually by one of Germany’s top handball clubs TSG Bergedorf, which is based at Bergedorf here in Hamburg, in conjunction with the Hamburger Handball Association.
TSG Bergedorf broke with tradition when they, for the first time since the inception of the Hanse Cup more than a decade ago, invited a team from Africa, Mashrhino, a select side picked by the Mashonaland West Handball Association in Zimbabwe, to take part in this year’s two-day tournament which was held over this past weekend in Hamburg.
The tournament’s matches were played at eight different indoor venues in Bergedorf. Mashrhino’s participation in this year’s Hanse Cup was facilitated by the GeBe Foundation of Germany, a non-profit organisation, which has some sporting links with a number of German sport associations and has a branch in Cape Town, South Africa.
More than 500 boys and girls Under-15 and 17 players drawn from over 50 handball clubs from Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the host nation Germany all converged in Bergedorf at the weekend to take part in this annual event, which is one of the biggest youth handball tournaments in Europe.
TAnd this year a team of seven boys and four girls drawn from several schools in Mashonaland West made the long trip here where they formed the Mashrhino select side who wrote their own piece of history.
The 11 history-making players in this team are Ryan Munaki, Tanatswa Dzotizeyi, Runyararo Tizora (all from Kutama College in Zvimba), Nathaniel Moyo, Makhosi Mugoba, Tawedzerwa Mada, Siwellogyn Gwembere, Anastancia Manuwere (all from Conway College in Mount Hampden), Winnie Machipisa (Martindale Primary School in Chegutu), Charmaine Gororo (Sanyati Baptist High School) and Anesu Bonomali (Chegutu).
The first group of these 11 promising handball players, which was made up of six boys — Moyo, Mugoba, Mada, Munaki, Dzotizeyi and Tizora — and three girls — Manuwere, Machipisa and Gororo — first endured an almost 24-hour trip from Harare to Hamburg via Nairobi, Kenya, on Easter Friday.
But the Mashrhino boys team had to play their first three matches of the tournament on Saturday “one man” short as the other member of the team, Gwembere, was still on his way to Hamburg while the three girls,Manuwere, Machipisa and Gororo, who were also later joined by Bonomali, were asked to appear for a number of other participating teams as guest players.
They first went down 8-16 to SV Einheit 1875 before they played gallantly in their next match against TV Mascherode from the German city of Hanover, who narrowly beat them 20-15. In their last match of the day on Saturday evening, the visibly tired Mashrhino boys Under-17 side went down 6-13 to Denmark’s Norre Djurs HK but by that time they had already won the hearts of many neutrals at this tournament who cheered them on all the way from the first game of this event.