The Sunday Mail
Sporting couples are a dime a dozen. However, not all of them have interesting tales to tell.
Naslin Negomo and Keith “Beast” Machakaire have an intriguing love story.
For the Harare City power couple, the volleyball court has a special place in their hearts.
Seven years ago, they met for the first time on the court.
Back then, Machakaire was under Support Unit while Negomo was with the University of Zimbabwe Wolves.
Through all their ups and downs, break-ups and make-ups as well as their numerous trips, the court has remained their place of peace and tranquillity.
“Our adventure makes an interesting tale,” said Negomo.
“I did not have much passion for the game (volleyball), before meeting Keith. When I met him, everything changed,” she said.
On the other hand, Machakaire says Negomo is his motivation on the court.
“She has that rare drive that every player needs when the going gets tough. It gives me the zeal to never bow down no matter the situation,” revealed Machakaire, who is a renowned outside hitter.
Negomo is now a libero (sweeper).
She has vivid memories of her first encounter with the City star player when she was still an amateur.
“We were at UZ and I was walking from the changing room to the courts. Keith was coming from the opposite direction,” said Negomo.
“He reached out and greeted me with a smile as he passed by. That was the beginning of it all.
“Somehow I was very excited about it and told my friends. A few days later, Machakaire called me after getting my number from a friend,” narrated Negomo.
The two instantly clicked, and a relationship developed.
In 2015, the lovebirds broke up for some months.
Both seemed to have moved on.
But as fate would have it in 2016, they found their way back to each other courtesy of volleyball.
Having started playing volleyball during her days at Murehwa High School, Negomo feels it is ironic that she played the game for so many years without much passion, only for that to change when she met Machakaire.
Now when she steps onto the court, the soft-spoken young lady transforms into a brute force.
She shares that trait with her better half.
Negomo said their relationship comes with a lot of pressure as they are both striving to maintain fine form.
Apart from their club training, which comes twice a week, the pair sometimes go to the gym.
“When everyone knows about the relationship, you cannot mess up,” she said.
Negomo recently bagged the Best Defender gong at the Zone VI Volleyball Championship, held in Malawi late last year, and was voted Best Libero at the Harare National league.
The Beast is determined to raise the bar with every performance.
He got the moniker from his aggression on court.
“We are each other’s biggest fan. When the time comes, we shall settle as Mr and Mrs Machakaire,” he said with a chuckle.