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by ALEX KURAIDZA
JERERA, (Lowveld Post)
MUTONHORI High School, located in a remote corner of Zaka West constituency has made history after producing the 2019 undisputed National Bantam Weight Champion, Mandlenkosi Marusenga.

The school embraced boxing as one of its sporting disciplines in line with their intra-curriculum programme and in just two years the move has produced a big result.

The school’s pupil Marusenga beat Marshall Shiri of Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) at the 2019 Zimbabwe Boxing Federation National Boxing Championships held on 9 November at the Gibbo Boxing Arena in Triangle to claim the big prize.

Born and bred in Triangle, Marusenga started his boxing career at a tender age of 12 after quitting junior football due to a career-ending leg injury.

He had dropped out of school after failing to secure school fees for Form 1. But all hope was not lost for him.

After noticing his talent, his school head Changani Chakawa took him to Tapudzai College where he was deployed. He was 16 then. When he was promoted to substantive head for Mutonhori School, Chakawa again went with his boxer, determined to help him realise his talent.

The headmaster said he was so proud of Marusenga and his achievements which put the school in the history books for becoming the first rural school in Zimbabwe to produce an undisputed National Champion in the seniors category.

Festus Chinezhira Dumbu, who is the former Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Zaka West MP and the Secretary General of the Masvingo Boxing Federation said was pleased with the result.

“It’s very encouraging to note that our four-year old effort to take the sport of Boxing to the rural parts of Zimbabwe via the schools system, is beginning to bear fruits,” he said.

“All this is being made possible through the support and cooperation of National Association of Secondary School Heads (NASH) and the various departments of the Ministry of Education and Culture in Masvingo Province.

“The Masvingo Boxing Federation remains proud of this Boxing Development partnership and we hope that very soon, we will be having a Head In-Charge of Boxing for Masvingo Province in the NASH Provincial Structure. Boxing Talent Development remains our thrust and we are confident that we will continue churning out more champions for Zimbabwe.

The 19 year old Marusenga becomes the fourth National Boxing champion to hail from Zaka.

Amasa Nhenjana who is the former Masvingo Zanu PF provincial chairperson was the Heavyweight Champion before being dethroned by Arigoma Chiponda some years ago.

King Zaka Madziva was National Welterweight Champion and Jacob Dekeza was a National Light-Heavy Weight Champion. All these hailed from Zaka district.

In other Championship bouts held at Gibbo Stadium on Saturday, Ashton Ziwakaya of Manyuchi Academy beat Almighty Moyo of Bulawayo to emerge Light-Welterweight Champion.

Petros Machokoto of Masvingo Province (Mwenezana) beat Zibusiso Nyoni to emerge Light Weight Champion.