A veteran’s last hurray!

07 Jul, 2019 - 00:07 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

Veronica Gwaze

WHEN future historians sit down to pen the story of Zimbabwe netball, it goes without say that a separate chapter or two will be required to tell Perpetua Siyachitema’s story.

From her imposing frame, ability to dominate and impose her will on any opposition, right up to her many years of servitude, Siyachitema is a force to reckon with on the court.

The 36-year-old has had the Zimbabwe Gems’ Wing Attacker bib for over a decade now.

But having represented and captained the Zimbabwe senior netball team for 12 years now, the time for her to move on to bigger and better things has come.

“It’s more than two decades now since I made my international debut as a 19-year-old. l think I have done and seen it all, the ups or the downs,” said Siyachitema.

Like most athletes of that stature – those who have risen to the top and stayed there for a long time – the Gems skipper has two items to tick off her bucket list before she rides off to the sunset.

The first is to leave the sport in a better state than she found it.

The second is to wear that national bib just one more time. However, this time around, it will be on the biggest stage of them all – the World Cup.

The Vitality Netball World Cup – slated for July 12 to 21 in Liverpool, England – is set to give her that big send off.

“I have been waiting for this moment my entire netball life,” declared Siyachitema.

“And now it’s finally here and I couldn’t be more excited and humbled. My World Cup dream will come true this Friday,” she said.

Siyachitema has already expressed her desire to retire upon the conclusion of the tournament.

“This marks my final task. I will be resigning from national duty when we wrap up our participation at the World cup.

“At the World Cup, I will play my heart out, I will leave all on the court.

“I want to be at my peak and quit knowing that I left the sport in a better state that it currently is in.

“Climbing up the International Netball Federation (INF) rankings should do just that. I want us to break into the top eight,” she said.

Currently, the Gems are ranked at position 13 and fourth in Africa.

Siyachitema, a veteran of over 122 international caps, is set to be the pillar by which Zimbabwe mounts its challenge in the UK as they come up against Sri Lanka, favorites Australia and then Northern Ireland.

Coaching remains a viable option for Siyachitema, having already planted the seeds as the Young Gems’ assistant Coach and Glow Petroleum Queens Player Coach.

Her other option could be to go and catch up on some much needed downtime with husband Dalubuhle Nyoni.

The two met through netball at the 10th edition of the All-Africa Games in Maputo, back in 2011.

Nyoni was part of the medical team and it was love at first sight.

“I met her back in 2011 in Maputo when I was part of the medical team and despite lots of people being there, it was Pepe (Siyachitema) who stood out.

“You could tell she had the passion for what she was doing, we hit it off right away when we started talking.

“We dated for a bit, before getting married in 2015.

“I respect her love for netball, I understand netball is her life and I have also grown to love and appreciate the sport more through her,” said Nyoni, who is a physiotherapist.

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