Senior Sports Reporter
AS Stephanie Travers’ name continues to reverberate across the globe, echoes are being heard in Harare’s Arcadia suburb.
It’s the neighbourhood where the 25-year-old chemical engineer traces her roots.
Travers broke new ground when she became the first black woman to stand on the Formula 1 podium in the sport’s 70-year history on Sunday.
The Zimbabwean was sent by her Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team to collect the constructor’s trophy at the end of the Styrian Grand Prix in Austria.
“Stephanie’s achievement is really awesome as a community offspring,” said former Arcadia United player, Simon Finch.
“Truly, a great feat for a young lady to be excelling in motorsport. Her dad is Bertram, the eldest child of her late grandfather, Pat Travers.
“Her history-making feat shows that if one puts their mind to what they are aiming for, anything can be achieved, even in a male-dominated sport.”
Travers was born in Harare to Maria and Bertram Travers.
She is the grand-daughter of Pat Travers, the late chairman of Arcadia United.
Travers has been living in the United Kingdom since 2004.
Arcadia prides itself in the success of its offspring exports, the likes of Brendan Galloway, Tristan Nydam and Macauley Bonne.
“Yes, many others have excelled from our small community overseas like Brendan Galloway, Quincy Antipas, Bradley Pritchard and Tristan Nydam,’’ said Finch.
‘‘So, it’s always great pride seeing our community members flourishing.’’
Arcadia United legend, Charlie Jones believes Travers’ success is a major source of inspiration to the young generation.
‘‘Stephanie’s feat has been followed by the community and Zimbabweans from the time of her appointment to Mercedes in the F1.
‘‘And, her receiving the award was well celebrated. It’s a great achievement,” said Jones.
“Pat’s leadership at Arcadia was all about the community. The leadership gave us something to always look forward to. These were role models.
‘‘Pat was an accomplished leader and he helped the community.
“The community still have lots of talent. We have revived Arcadia United and are playing in ZIFA Division 2A.
‘‘We hope, in a few years from now, we will be back in the top-flight.’’
Jones has joined hands with the likes of Carlos Max, Finch and Shaune Charters in reviving Arcadia Football Club.
Last year, the current leadership led in the facelift of the sports club, thanks to the benevolence of some of the community’s loyal sons and daughters.
The team is under the tutelage for former goalkeeper Laban Kandi and Joe Cocker.
They narrowly missed out in the promotion to the ZIFA Northern Region Division One after they finished third in a tight race that also included Eagles and eventual winners Prisons FC.
“Yes, we, the former players, got together to get our young community children off the streets and away from bad influences by starting and reviving our junior football programme.
“This has advanced to having a team playing in the ZIFA Division 2A.
‘‘This year, although interrupted by coronavirus pandemic, would be our third year.
‘‘Last year we fought hard, pushing eventual winners Prisons and Eagles FC all the way to the end. We eventually finished in third position.
“We have some outstanding young players in Munashe ‘Yokohoma’ Nandolo, Keith ‘Sekuru’ Yohane and Pritchard ‘Prinko’ Machemedze.
‘‘These are some talented players that stand out and have a bright future as they can play in our top division.
‘‘We have loads of potential players who will be a feeder into our senior team under the watchful eye of Laban Kandi and Joe Cocker.’’
They are hoping the recent F1 success story by Travers will inspire the new generation of youth in the community.
Travers holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bradford, and an MSc in Advanced Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London.
“Growing up, I used to watch races with my dad and travel to some races with friends,’’ she said.
“It’s something that I’ve always aspired to one day work within. I tailored my education with the goal of becoming a trackside fluid engineer.”
And, she received the endorsement of six-time World Champion, and teammate, Lewis Hamilton.
“On Sunday, she became the first black woman to stand on the podium in Formula 1 history,’’ Hamilton said.
‘‘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.’’
She is already inspiring her Arcadia community.
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