AS she captained her charges to the 2019 Harare Volleyball League championship last weekend, to her, there was more to it than just celebrations and merry making.
Harare City ladies Volleyball team skipper Media Mafuta, had her mother’s deathbed wish to ponder on.
A mere mention of her mother’s name invokes painful emotions and tears to the skipper.
Making waves on the volleyball and netball courts at local and national team colours, Mafuta is unquestionably equally gifted in both.
But it is her mother’s deathbed wish that finally made her give up on netball.
“Stay away from netball and forget about the World Cup. This is never meant to be yours, you will understand me one day,” she recalls her mother (Rita Charehwa)’s deathbed words.
The unsung netballer who also dons volleyball national team colours could have been puzzled by her mother’s words by then but now everything is adding up.
She had to miss the Liverpool World Cup opportunity and it is during those days that her mother died.
For years, Mafuta played as a defender for the senior national netball team.
She is also part of the squad that featured at the World Cup qualifiers in Zambia and for several times she also featured at the Pent series and Diamond Challenge tourneys.
While she enjoyed the purple patch, her mother felt otherwise.
“My mother’s last words really shocked me and for a moment, I never understood them because I thought she loved my sport.
“I missed the World Cup opportunity and while it could have been disappointing for any player of this magnitude, to me it became a blessing in disguise.”
Had Mafuta gotten the World Cup opportunity, she would have missed her mother’s last moments and death.
For a mother who was based in the rural areas only to come and stay in Harare and die, the two only had the last days to revive their bond.
During the days, the mother talked her out of playing netball but Mafuta had deep affection for the sport until after the global showpiece.
“My mother died during the World Cup days and having served so much on the national team, I needed them for consolation.
“There was nothing, even a condolence message and I felt so neglected by the Netball Association,” she wiped tears.
She feels her mother’s words foretold of that neglect.
She remembers how at times she had to leave her ailing mother at home under her (Mafuta) son’s care while she went on national duty.
The netballer also opened up on how she would be accused by the Netball Association of things that she was never involved in.
Mafuta, a Zimbabwe National Army employee who currently turns out for ZDF Queens revealed that since her mother’s death she no longer feels the same about netball.
“Even if anything bad happened in my absence, the Association would point fingers at me.
“One day, I cried so heavily, I saw the look in my mother’s eyes — she simply said — mwanangu uchafira vamwe, siyana ne netball iyi,” recalls the netballer.
Although she loved both sport codes equally, her heart now belongs to volley ball.
She takes to the court to vent out her fury and she admits that the sport is helping her heal from her mother’s loss.
Currently she plays for Harare City as a defender or attacker.
In 2017, the 36-year-old inspired her side to their maiden Confederation of African Volleyball Zone VI Club Championships in Bulawayo.
Last year, once again she led from the front all the way to Durban for another sweet dance at the same tournament.
This December, she is set to lead her charges to Lilongwe, Malawi for yet another showcase slated for December 13-22.
And this year, she will be doing it for her late mother.
“It really hurts that I am doing it after she is already gone.
“It would have been great if I did it while she watched but I know that she is up there in heaven smiling on me,” said Mafuta as tears filled her sun backed eyes.
On court, the “Citizens” have upped their preparations and Mafuta feels they are fully geared to bring the title home. However, club manager Godknows Jembere said the Municipality side is still making frantic efforts to raise the US$25 000 needed to ensure that both their men and women teams travel.
Both teams secured spots in the tournament after completing last year’s national league tournament among the top two teams in both categories.
And Harare City has currently organised a fundraising dinner slated for November 29, 2019 to raise travel and accommodation funds.