When she stepped into the netball court at the beginning of the 2018 Confederation of University and College Sports Association (CUCSA) games Fatima Dino was just one of 14 jerseys itching to play ball, but when she stepped out of the court yesterday (Saturday) she was the name on the lips of every netball enthusiast.
Even before the final whistle of the CUCSA games was blown, the 21 year old Bobonong lad had already moved beyond just another number on the jersey to a major star attraction of the tournament.
There is no doubt that Dino made the most striking and effective CUCSA debuts in recent times. For a young woman who started her netball career in the sticks at Matshekge Senior secondary School in Bobonong as a goal shooter, before switching to goal defender Dino has not done badly.
Her maiden appearance as a goal defender was at BotsRail netball team of Mahalapye and since then, she has made the position her own. “I was initially a shooter, but my coach saw potential in me and turned me into a goal defender hence making my first appearance in CUCSA and leaving a mark,” she says.
She was chosen the best defender of the tournament in the just ended My Spar My Botswana elite league. “I was overwhelmed by the recognition I got from the netballing officials who eventually chose me as the defender of the tournament. It was my first award since I played in the league. I was humbled,” she says.
Asked about the recognition she got for her CUCSA performance, Dino said, “I always strive to do well and obey the coach’s instructions to the letter. I train hard to maintain my form and my desire is to serve and continue in the national team. I want to see my career blossom and win silverware for the nation.”
Her secondary coach Monyama said Dino was not afraid of any challenge. “You give her any player she will do wonders for you, she has strong jumps and is very good at aerial and high balls. She is a player not to lose, a must keep,” he added.
He highlighted that netball in Botswana is currently well known and Batswana enjoy watching it especially after the Youth World Netball Cup dubbed “#Re A Ba Tsaa” which Botswana hosted last year.
Dino’s talent saw her being selected in the junior national team, Under 17 and Under 20, Netball Youth World Cup and she is currently a Jungle Queens defender.
In the just ended CUCSA, Botswana netball team emerged champions after defeating Zimbabwe 61-16 to win gold medal, Malawi and Zambia finished third and fourth respectively.