At the tender age of 10, Tinotenda Chirara fell in love … with basketball. Ever since his introduction to the sport way back in 2006, he has taken the court by storm, conquering his goals one hoop at a time.
This 24-year-old second-year BA student at the North-West University’s (NWU’s) campus in Vanderbijlpark is a modern-day Renaissance Man. Not only is he a point-scoring machine, but he is also a natural-born leader and a hardworking student.
“Basketball alone will not take you far. Focus more on your academics. If you can balance the two, you will never go wrong,” is his advice to aspiring players and students. As he has played for the Zimbabwean National under-20 side and for the Mpumalanga Rhinos in the SA Professional League, it would be unwise not to pay attention to what he says.
He is currently the captain of the NWU Vaal’s senior basketball team and a prolific scorer who can change the outcome of any game.
This was particularly true when he scored a career-best of 40 points in a Varsity Basketball game in Johannesburg against UKZN to spearhead an epic comeback for the team to win the game by a single point.
“It is one of the best games that I have ever played. To me, team accomplishments are more important than personal achievements. I was happy to score 40 points, but I was happier that we won the game, especially considering that we were the underdogs,” Chirara told nwu.ac.za.
As a natural leader, he leads by example both on and off the field. His work ethic and dedication distinguish him from his peers.
“I think I’m a good shooter, but it didn’t come naturally. It took hours and hours of practice to reach the level I am at. I am a decent player because I was taught the importance of the basics and fundamentals at a very young age, and I still consider myself a student of the game,” he admits.
Even though going to the gym is off-limits during the national lockdown, he keeps in shape. “I do 500 sit-ups, 500 push-ups and 500 squats and skip rope every day to stay fit.”
It is easy to understand why players look up to him as captain of the NWU Vaal’s team. His approach to basketball is unpretentious.
“I keep it simple all the time. If you want to be a great player, you should master defending and you should also understand that it is a team sport and everyone’s role is equally important.”
NWU 2019 Varsity Basketball squad: 4 Voyani Mpolweni, 5 Mkhululi Mazibuko, 6 Khaulani Miti, 7 Thapelo Mkhatshwa, 8 Tinotenda Chirara, 9 Boitumelo Rantao, 10 Vuyisile Sicwebu, 11 Daniel Muyambo, 12 Sanele Ngomane, 13 Itumeleng Radiokana, 14 Beryl Kabongo, 15 Themba Nkutha.
Article courtesy NWU Media