STAYING POSITIVE . . . Gems goal attack Tafadzwa Matura is hoping to build on her Netball World Cup qualifiers performance as she focuses on the future.
Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter
FOLLOWING her scintillating performance at the Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers close to two months ago, Tafadzwa Matura is looking into the future with confidence.
She is part of the provisional squad currently in camp preparing for the upcoming Diamond Challenge Cup due to take place next month in South Africa.
Matura was exceptional during the World Cup qualifiers held in Pretoria, South Africa, in August.
She got the Player of the Match award twice at the tournament, helping Zimbabwe qualify for their second consecutive appearance at the Netball World Cup that will be staged in South Africa next year.
With about nine months to go before the tournament roars into life, the goal attack is aware she needs to continue working hard to be part of the final team that will grace the global event in Cape Town next year.
“I was pleased with my performance during the qualifiers. I didn’t expect to get awards but I am grateful for my teammates, it was teamwork. My wish going to the qualifiers was to help my country qualify for the World Cup and God fulfilled my wish.
“I feel great to being part of the winning team and it motivates me a lot. Before we went to South Africa for the qualifiers, we had good preparation that’s why we had good tournament.
“Now I have to work even harder because we now have a bigger task. I am going to work extra hard.
“We are promising to work very hard when we go to the World Cup. Definitely we can do better because I believe in my teammates,” said Matura.
She plays goal attack, goal shooter and wing attack, and turns out for ZDF Queens.
The club’s technical advisor, Tapiwa Chirenda, who has worked with Matura over the years, is not surprised by the strides she is making.
“It was no surprise for me personally that she rose to the occasion because I personally know her capabilities.
“I have known Tafadzwa Matura since she was at Harare City, in 2012. Then when she moved to Air Force Falcons whilst I was still the police outfit mentor.
“They used to come to Morris Depot for friendly games in preparation for Super League qualifiers and I always saw the potential in the tall slim gangly youth who everyone seemed to take for granted to be just a below average player.
“I always told her back then if I ever had the chance to work with her, I would make the true gem emerge from its cacoon and she always got angry because back then she never really believed it was possible to become a star.
“Luckily fate had it, I went to Air Force of Zimbabwe in 2014 and the long hard journey began to mould the talent I always saw beneath the disdain shown to her by most people,” said Chirenda.
Chirenda praised Matura for her work ethic, which he says is the driving force for her exploits on the court.
“I would describe her as an extreme being in terms of work ethic.
“What makes her outstanding from other players is obviously her work ethic on the court coupled with a very smart court IQ and most of all the one thing I drilled into her head – don’t play to seek self-glory but rather be the player who can accommodate any player on the court no matter how bad they might be.
“That alone sets her apart because it simply means pride will never come into play.
“All things being equal, I believe she deserves a stint in one of the international leagues like Vitality or even Suncorp itself,” said Chirenda.
Born in Bikita, in Masvingo Province, the 32-year-old’s involvement in netball started at Gawa Primary School.
She then went to Tamuka Secondary School before she moved to Pamushana High School after getting a scholarship through netball.
“I had many opportunities that were created by netball. For example, I got a scholarship at school… Besides netball I am employed by the Air Force of Zimbabwe.
“However, playing netball was not my choice but my brother was a teacher at Gawa Primary School and was the netball team coach. He is the one who actually forced me to play because of my height. Personally, I was interested in volleyball,” said Matura.
She paid tribute to various individuals who have helped shape her career, including her former coach at Pamushana High School, Peter Juro, and current club coach, Joel Sibanda.
“I have met a lot of people who have supported me along the way. The likes of my coach at Pamushana, Peter Juro, coach Lloyd Bumhira a.k.a coach Mupositori, he is the one who took me on board at Falcon Queens for me to get a job.
“And my club coaches (Joel) Sibanda and Tapiwa (Chirenda),” said Matura.