Precious Marange plays both rugby and cricket for the Zimbabwe national teams. Photo: Precious Marange

By Pauline Odhiambo

Precious Marange was working as a housemaid in Zimbabwe when she first saw a game of cricket on her employer's black-and-white television.

As the game involving 22 players in flannels rolled on at an alternately lively and languorous pace, Precious was intrigued by the nuanced action unfolding every minute.

A few weeks later, an opportunity to participate in a cricket match in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare presented itself. Precious hasn't stopped playing cricket since.

"I was walking past Takashinga Cricket Club in 2004 when I felt a sudden urge to go in and try out the sport," she recounts to TRT Afrika. "The coaches took a chance on me, and I have been playing since."

Takashinga is among the first black cricket clubs in Zimbabwe and the cradle of most of Zimbabwe's top players.

Precious would often sneak out to the club for practice before rushing back to her housemaid duties in Harare's Highfield suburb.

"My first big break came in 2006 when I got the chance to travel with the cricket team to Botswana and an African qualifier the same year," the left-handed batter recalls. "I boarded my first flight to South Africa for a match against Pakistan in 2008."

Precious started playing cricket in 2004. Photo: Precious Marange

Super athlete

When a teammate suggested that Precious try out rugby too, she couldn't have imagined excelling in another new sport and eventually attaining super-athlete status.

"I must maintain a certain level of fitness at all times to play cricket and rugby," she explains.

"I stay in shape with strength training and aerobics to improve my speed, agility, and power on the field."

Her discipline and work ethic enabled Precious to not only play cricket and rugby for her country but also captain the national teams in both sports.

The 41-year-old's daily routine involves getting up by 5am to exercise before getting to her day job at a steel factory at 7.30am.

Despite achieving national success in rugby and cricket, Precious values her factory job as it helps her provide her 12-year-old son and other members of her immediate family a better life.

"I always find time for family and sports. My son is happy because he knows his mother is doing everything she can to give him the best of what life has to offer," says Precious, who supports five other family members.

"I make sure everyone is taken care of, although the money is never enough of course."

At 41-years-old, Precious is a role model for the younger players. Photo: Precious Marange

Role model

Precious is grateful to her employers and bosses at the factory, who have been supportive by constantly allowing her to take time off from work to pursue her sporting career.

"My bosses are like my parents. They support me in everything. They understand what an honour it is to represent Zimbabwe in both rugby and cricket," she tells TRT Afrika.

As women's sports in Zimbabwe gain popularity, Precious's success seems to be inspiring many others to try and make inroads into arenas hitherto dominated by male athletes.

As one of the senior players in both teams, Precious is regarded as a role model for younger players aspiring to an international breakthrough.

Her ultimate goal is to start a sports academy where women of different ages and from diverse backgrounds will get the opportunity to excel in their chosen sport.

"Every woman can play the so-called gentlemen's games," says Precious. "Age is just a number, and nothing is impossible."

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TRT Afrika