A DEBUT Premiership goal for Reiss Nelson, an historic podium place for Stephanie Travers and a recall into the England Test team for Sam Curran.
What a week this has been for this high-profile trio with Zimbabwean connections.
From the Emirates football stadium in north London, England, the Emirates cricket ground in Manchester to the Red Bull Ring motorsport racing track in Spielberg, Styria, Austria, sport has
been rocking to a beat with a distinct Zimbabwean rhythm this week.
In an era where sport, and betting firms like Betway sports betting are fighting back, to try and cheer the spirits of a world ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak, there has been a constant
Zimbabwean touch to the proceedings in the big sporting events throughout the week.
Two men and a woman, in high-profile sports teams, who share a common denominator — Zimbabwean fathers.
It started in Austria on Sunday when Travers, a 25-year-old chemical engineer, broke barriers by becoming the first black woman to stand on the podium in Formula 1 history.
The granddaughter of the late Arcadia United chairman, Pat Travers, Stephanie made history when she was asked by her triumphant Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team to collect the constructor’s trophy at the Styrian Grand Prix.
And, she received the endorsement of six-time World Champion, and teammate, Lewis Hamilton.
“This is Stephanie, who is one of my teammates,’’ the British racing star told his 12.8 million followers on Instagram after posting a photo of her with the constructors’ trophy.
“She became the first black woman to stand on the podium in Formula 1 history. This is an amazing achievement and I just wanted to acknowledge her for her hard work, positivity and passion for her job.
“Like most of the jobs, in our sport, they are in high demand and Stephanie was selected out of over 7 000 applicants for her role. Steph said she wants to inspire young black children and children of colour, to believe they can do it, too, and I couldn’t agree more.
“So, whilst I really appreciate all of the congratulations, I wanted to take the opportunity to lift her up and share them with her.’’
Stephanie, whose family left Zimbabwe in 2004 to settle in the United Kingdom, joined the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team last year as a Track Fluid Engineer.
On Wednesday, 20-year-old footballer, Reiss Nelson, who has been courted by the Warriors team management to play for Zimbabwe, scored his first Premiership goal to help Arsenal beat champions Liverpool 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in north London.
The exciting forward, who was born in the rough south London area of Elephant and Castle and grew up in Aylesbury Estate, known as “Hell’s Waiting Room,’’ because of the poverty, drugs and violent crime, has a Zimbabwean father and an English mother.
Very little, though, is known about the father, someone Nelson — whose development masterplan included a loan stint at Knowledge Musona’s former club in Germany, TSG Hoffenheim — doesn’t appear too eager to acknowledge whenever he talks about his life and career.
His mother, Phyllis, and elder brother, Ricky, though, are always part of his narrative.
“When I was growing up, I used to have loads of Thierry jerseys hanging on my wall,’’ he told the official Arsenal website. “My mum used to work really hard to buy those shirts so when I got one I could wear, I used to have it on every day.
“I never thought the day would come where people had my name on the back of their shirt but since I’ve broken into the first team, I’ve seen a few on matchdays around the Emirates and, obviously, in the dressing room, too.
“Obviously, I’ve dished out a load of my shirts to friends and family but I made sure that my mum and brother got the first ones.
“They’ve been on this journey with me since day one , making my senior debut, was a real family achievement, it felt like all the hard work had paid off.’’
Former Warriors’ manager, Wellington Mpandare, chased long and hard, to try and get Nelson to commit his future to the Warriors, even though he has played his youth international football for England.
Mpandare even enlisted the services of Super Eagles midfielder, Alex Iwobi, to try and convince Nelson to play for the Warriors but, after the Nigerian left to move to Everton, it became a tough task.
However, with Nelson, just like his best friend Jordan Sancho, tipped to be part of the next generation of Three Lions, chances of him playing for the Warriors, especially if his goal against Liverpool provides the spark for his career to explode at the Gunners, will be slim.
Mpandare, though, doesn’t want to believe it’s Mission Impossible. In football, things can change in an instant just as they do on betting groups like Betway sports betting and its likes, this isn’t a game where you can say this will never happen, even when the chances are slim.
There was a Zimbabwean touch to the second Test between England and the West Indies, the first international cricket showdown after the coronavirus outbreak, which started at Old Trafford in Manchester yesterday.
Sam Curran, the 22-year-old all-rounder, was recalled to the England team which lost the first Test in Southampton.
Born in Northampton, England, Sam is the youngest son of the late former Zimbabweinternational cricketer and coach, Kevin, who collapsed and died on October 10, 2010, while jogging in Mutare.
Sam went to Springvalle House in Marondera, and St George’s College in Harare, representing Zimbabwe in the Under-13 national team at the 2011-12 Cricket South Africa Under-13 Week tournament, before moving to England where he attended Wellington College in Berkshire.
He was named by the ICC among the five breakout stars in men’s cricket two years ago and in April last year, he became the youngest bowler to take a hat-trick in the Indian Premier League.
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