LIFE has taught Precious Pazani to wear many different hats.
By DANIEL NHAKANISO
As if playing for the national women’s rugby team and starring for a local basketball side Vixens, wasn’t enough, the 25-year-old recently made history after becoming only the second local female rugby referee to officiate in an international match.
Following in the footsteps of her mentor Abigail Kawonza, Pazani was one of the touch judges during the Under-19 Africa Cup tournament held at St Georges College in the capital recently.
The Old Hararians women’s rugby team player made a positive impression during the four-nation continental tournament, which featured hosts Zimbabwe alongside Namibia and Uganda.
“It was an awesome experience,” said Pazani who has also done well academically after recently obtaining a higher national diploma in human resource management with the Harare Polytechnic.
“Officiating in an international rugby match has always been my ultimate goal ever since I started. I want to continue working hard and with God grace I hope to get more opportunities,” she said.
With a promising career in rugby officiating now ahead of her, Pazani recalls how she had initially set her sights on a basketball career.
“I started off playing basketball from Grade six while I was Admiral Tait Primary School. In fact I continued to play basketball throughout my high school at Roosevelt and went on to play club basketball for the Vixens women’s basketball side. My rugby career only started in 2009 and I have never looked back ever since,” she said.
Pazani was one of the several promising women’s basketball players, who crossed the floor to rugby joining other players such as former national basketball team players Charity Muchuchuti, Abigail Gondo, Lucia Marisamhuka and Patience Chinhoyi.
It proved to be a wise move for Pazani, who went on to become one of the top players in the women’s rugby league before being called up to the national women’s rugby team.
Despite doing well as a player, Pazani was intrigued by officiating and decided to take it up last year after encouragement from national women’s rugby coach Kawonza.
“After watching a game in the local league, I remember telling my good friend and mentor Abigail Kawonza I could do this. She encouraged me to go ahead and try it out and from there I started attending the Zimbabwe Rugby Referees Society meetings and I’ve never looked back since,” she said.
Recently Pazani was one of the two local officials together with Julian Mundawarara selected to attend a high profile rugby referee’s clinic at the Maties Referees Academy in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
It was not long after her return from the course which was funded by African rugby that she was selected to officiate in the Under-19 Africa Cup.
Zimbabwe Referees Society president, Gerald Chipuma was impressed by Pazani’s performance and believes she has a bright future ahead of her.
“She proved beyond any reasonable doubt that she’s got a lot of potential and we very were pleased with the report we got from African Rugby. This will definitely open a lot of opportunities for her and with the World Rugby U20 Trophy coming to Zimbabwe next year she’s’ on of the local officials we will recommend,” he said.