A Mberengwa-born netball player who made an impact during the recently ended Netball World Cup qualifiers in South Africa feels she now has what it takes to compete against the best international clubs.
From dust comes the best, humble beginnings remain a key feature of many sports superstars’ career journey and for one national team player, despite coming from a discouraging rural background, she has come a long way to be at the peak of her career, now she is aiming for an international adventure.
Speaking to this publication, a Mberengwa-born Platinum FC shooter, Chipo Shoko (27), who was part of the recent national team that qualified for the world cup believes it is high time she takes her career to the international clubs.
“At this stage of my career, I wish I can find a world-challenging netball club from either South Africa, Australia, or any other country to further my career in sport. I have come too far to end here. I only thank God for taking me this far,” said Shoko.
Looking backward to the genesis of her career, Shoko admitted that back then when she was in the rural environments she never thought God will take her this far, nevertheless, she remained disciplined and committed before her breakthrough in 2016 when she was picked by Platinum Queens to further her career.
“With my rural background I was not sure God would take me this far but my faith and discipline saved me. I am originally from Muponjani in Mberengwa where I was born and completed my primary level education at Muponjani Primary School. I was then picked from Murerezi High School on a sports scholarship fund to Mnene High School. While at Mnene my career was set into motion. Even after school, I remained committed and disciplined until 2016 in December when I was called to proceed with my netball career at Platinum FC in Zvishavane,” Shoko said.
One of her grassroots coaches and netball mentor, Trust Matcheza from Mnene High School in Mberengwa, who helped nurture, and shape her talent believes the rural environments play a negative role in discouraging upcoming talents, but as for Shoko he admits that her dedication and commitment were much stronger than anything.
“The issue is that communities have varied understandings of Sport based on their financial backgrounds. Sometimes you identify a player or athlete who is so gifted but with parents who are not financially capable to sponsor a career in sports. That way one’s talent is wasted and the career dies a natural death. My wish and hope as a sports entrepreneur, I think at some point we need to have sports academies as a nation to recruit and nature our talents for the better of those gifted and for the benefit of the nation as a whole”, said Matcheza.
Matcheza added that Shoko is one of his sports products that he has groomed over the years emphasizing that she was well disciplined and committed which he believes has taken her that far.
“Chipo Shoko was my superstar shooter at Mnene. During her days at school, we traveled a lot across Zimbabwe. We have been to Nyamhunga Kariba, Beitbridge, and everywhere. She was well-disciplined, committed, and that took her where she is now. When I first saw her at one outing I told myself I should nurture and develop this talent and her discipline made everything smooth until she was recruited by Platinum FC. As one of her mentors and previous coach I keep telling her never to be misled by hostile environments,” said Matcheza who is popularly known as “The General” in the field of netball.