The Maroto who is no man

IN the Chinese culture there is no symbol that is better known to outsiders than the Yin Yang.

It’s used to depict how opposite forces work to keep things in harmony.

And Happiness Maroto, the 19-year-old basketball sensation, comes across as a product of the yin-yang philosophy.

On the court Maroto is forceful and currently the ‘it girl’ in women’s basketball having just made the big money move from Greenstars to Harare City Hornets.

Off the court she is a completely different animal; the opposite of her basketball persona.

Getting a word of her on non-basketball matters is often a difficult task.

“My name is Happiness Maroto. I was born on the fourth of June in 1999. I come from a family of five-three boys and two girls … I am the last born,” said Maroto in an almost robotic delivery at the start of the interview.

However, further pressing revealed why she is the sportsperson that she is — it runs in the family!

“I am not the only sports-person in my family as my eldest brother, Norman Maroto, is a retired professional football player,” revealed Happiness.

Norman played for Dynamos and Gunners during his heydays and was also a man of very few words.

He did most of his talking on the football pitch, winning the title in 2009 and finishing top goal scorer with Gunners in 2010.

Happiness wants to handle business that way too.

“Most people get my relationship with Norman mixed up, they somehow think he is my father yet he is just a brother. But having him as part of my support structure is amazing, he appreciates what sport is all about.

“Just like he used to do during his playing days I want to let my game do most of the talking. The hard work I put in at training should show,” she said.

Maroto’s parting gift to Greenstars was a title win at the annual Eswatini Invitational Basketball tournament held in Swaziland a fortnight ago.

The Girl’s High School Upper Six student was also crowned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, beating a host of more seasoned basketball professionals from countries like Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique and Lesotho.

“As far as titles and MVP awards go, I think this ranks as my favourite and most cherished,” said Maroto.

“We entered the competition as underdogs and no one really gave us a chance. That alone made the win more precious.”

Despite her young age Maroto is already a key member of the women’s national team with many tipping her to become a legend of the game.

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