After they finished ranked 9th at the 2017 Netball Youth World Cup (NYWC) held in Gaborone a few months ag, the Botswana national team dubbed Dinaletsana exposed many stars who surprised many of their staunch followers. Amid some of these luminaries was the team’s lanky goalkeeper and 20-year-old Kearoma Maipelo Mosotho. The Malolwane-born star grew up in Otse as a talkative, shy, obedient and down to earth lass. The talented player’s netball career began in 2014 when she was doing her Form 5 at St. Joseph’s College.
“That’s when and where I met my coach, Abednico Chetelo. I really didn’t think I had talent in netball simply because I just played for the school team and it was just for fun,” she said.
Fast forward to 2016, Mosotho was head over heels when a chance to represent the country at this year’s lucrative world cup games prevailed.
“My preparations for the world cup started last year when I had my first ever calling for national camp. There were about 53 players called for this selection. It was very tough for us who were new. Through hard work and dedication, I made it to top 17 but not in the final team. To me that was a very big achievement, since I was new and to make it that far,” she added.
Success at the highest level of netball has not changed Mosotho, who dreams of playing professionally abroad especially in New Zealand. We recently had a chat with her…
Selections are always the point of make or break for any player. Didn’t that make you give up to say, look am new in this set up. I tried my best but this is the end for me…
It was a youth world cup and that meant all these players are my age mates. I can’t give up easily. I continued training off camp with my coach Chetelo, who has been very supportive. I was then called for the world cup camp. My national team coaches; Kagisano Mawela and Setshidi Mmopi also didn’t give up on my growth in netball. Just a few months to the games I sustained an injury and I almost lost hope but I recovered and came back with determination. I worked 10 times more than everyone so as to catch up. With all that I made it to the final selection of 12.
You have achieved tremendously just under-21 years. What’s left for you as a player? What are your dreams?
I still want to cement my place in the national team. I won’t be able to play in the next youth world cup. There is still a long way to go. My dream with netball is to play abroad professionally preferably in the New Zealand league. I want to see myself playing with the best in the world so that I can also share with my team mates the skills I’ve learnt abroad, and with hard work and determination, I know it’s all possible.
…and after NYWC, some of the players were introduced to the national team and played in a tournament in Namibia and you were one of them…The team that was competing in the youth world cup had trained together for a long time than the one, which was competing in Namibia so we understood each other better. It was really good exposure for us again to join the senior team as we were playing against experienced players. I managed to learn a lot in that short time and performed exceptionally well in Namibia, our coach was so impressed by my performance.
One will say as a national team player, you are always away on national duty and at 20 years surely you are still under parental guidance, what has been their contributions to your success. And lastly, how do you balance your life?
It takes determination and hard work to balance the two. My parents love netball so they weren’t really against me being in camp, but always encouraged me to study hard. My school IDM, was also supportive as they always helped me whenever I struggled and provided materials ahead when I went for trips abroad. I went to school everyday and trained with the team in the afternoon. I passed with no supplements.
You seem grounded and focused, what is that you want to be remembered with regarding netball?
A good player is one with good discipline. I want to be a good example to the youngsters. I also want to help other children to get where I am today or even higher especially those at rural areas. I was appointed ambassador of sports at my home village after the games so doing so would be much easier.