The netball architect

13 Jan, 2019 - 00:01 0 Views
The netball architect

The Sunday Mail

Veronica Gwaze

“WORK hard in silence and let your success make all the noise”.

While not a very popular saying, one man seems to have taken this old adage to heart and that is Simbarashe Mlambo (pictured).

He neither oozes the swagger nor is he an outspoken person, but many people, within netball circles, believe him to be the hidden hand behind Zimbabwe’s qualification to this year Netball World Cup slated for Liverpool, England.

An architect of sorts; Mlambo is the coach at Pamushana High School and has been solely responsible for nurturing some of the biggest names in Zimbabwean netball, many of whom are currently in the Gems squad and will be hoping to make history when they step onto the Echo Arena courts this July.

Among those are the likes of Paidamoyo Tinoza, Felistas Kwangwa, Sharon Bwanali, Mercy Mukwadi, Patricia Malaudi, Claris Kwaramba, Sharleen Makusha, Ropafadzo Muhwira, Nomagugu Makhalima and Progress Moyo.

Known by his moniker ‘Coach Muller’ the gaffer also transformed Mwenezi and Pamushana High Schools into daunting powers at the national youth games.

The 38-year-old reckons that netball epitomises ‘everything’ about his life and passion.

“As the eldest child in my family, I had the privilege of watching my mother coaching netball back in the days.

“She had a very strong team but beyond that, it is her passion for the sport that made me follow her and eventually fall in love with the sport too,” he said.

Because the game was regarded as a female-only sport during those days, Mlambo did not get the chance to be fully involved at that time.

In 2002, after enrolling as a student teacher at Hillside Teachers College he found himself back on the courts, this time as a netball — inter-house coordinator.

“Although I did not know most rules about the sport, I loved the idea that I was more involved in the game now than before.

“From then, I would visit the library every day and read books about netball.

“That is how I learnt about the sport,” said the gaffer.

Realising how passionate he had become about netball; his mother gave him two books that provided him more insight into the sport.

Joining Mwenezi in 2004 straight after college, Mlambo feels an incident that happened on his first day at the Masvingo School cemented his path in sport.

“I joined Mwenezi on May 5 and I still vividly remember that it was a Wednesday.

“When I got to the school, I was asked which sport I would join and upon responding that I was interested in netball, I was handed a whistle.

“Receiving a whistle before even a pen or a book at the school to me was as symbolic gesture as it could be.

“A two- hour training session that Wednesday was my first task at the school. I was only to be introduced as a new teacher at assembly the following day,” he said.

Transforming the school into a formidable side by 2006, Mwenezi  made it to the provincial netball semifinals for the first time.

In 2007, he attained his first coaching certificate and made history the following year when he broke Pamushana grasp on the title.

“That tournament was my most memorable and I still remember the score lines vividly. “Breaking Pamushana ‘s record boost my confidence and from then I knew I could do more,” he said.

In 2011, Mlambo joined Pamushana Mission where he currently teaches Literature in English. He has 33 accolades to his name, with the highest coming at Under-17 and Under-20 level. He led the mission school to consecutive titles from 2012 to 2015.

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