The women’s football team from thebrave little nation of Zimbabwe may have lost their opening game in Rio but they stole one goal from the two-time Women’s World Champions - Germany. Zimbabwe contains many brave citizens who peacefully fight for change against corruption, fiscal mismanagement, and human rights. Even in apparent defeat, as peaceful demonstrations against the State end in Riot Police beatings and tear gassing, they look forward to long term victory. Every little step forward is a victory.

Single goal a psychological victory

This single goal is a psychological victory for Zimbabwean activists for change. They have to snatch small achievements over an oppressive Regime to give them hope for the future. The Zimbabwe Olympic team is small but very brave. Despite the opening game being their debut, and the fact that they were up against a scary opposition, they never complained, or wilted at the thought of losing. This brave little nation went out to do their best to build pride under the banner of their national flag.

Brutal Police Regime

The Flag of Zimbabwe has become synonymous with the ThisFlag citizens movement for change in their homeland. While their team was fighting for their pride on the football field in far away Brazil, back home peaceful demonstrators were nursing their bruises and injuries. These injuries followed incidents when Riot Police disregarded a High Court Order and without provocation, tear gassed and beat up peaceful protesters who were carrying crosses and placards to say "no" to the looming issue of Bond Notes in the cash-strapped country.

Own goals

Score one for the protesters who gain media attention every time their government reacts with force instead of dialogue. Score one for the little team of Zimbabweans who have never won a world championship, have never had large amounts of sports funding, world-class facilities and the experience of top-flight international tournaments. Even the own goal they inadvertently gave to Germany is representative of conditions in their homeland.

There, the Mugabe Government credits the calls for social change to a 3rd force in Europe rather than to the efforts of educated and thinking Zimbabwean citizens. Their efforts to repress voices of dissent show that the ruling Party ZANU (PF) constantly keep on scoring own goals as they fight against citizens crying for change.

Long term goal

For Zimbabweans, they can say with pride that their team was out there – carrying their flag high.

It does not matter that much whether they won or lost. It does not matter that there was an own goal or even a thrashing by a stronger team. Zimbabweans are used to losing, used to own goals and used to strong opposition. What counts is that they scored a goal. They scored a single goal. Single goals add up to a long-term goal, and every goal along the road to freedom from oppression is a psychological victory.

It is an exciting time to be a Zimbabwean. In years to come, like their brave women who went out to battle a larger force than themselves, they will one day stand proudly under their flag and say, “I was there!”

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