Local Hustlers off to the USA

2017-08-24 06:00
Gugulethu Hustlers coach Ndzuzo Manona and his charge, Anathi Tshwili, pose at the Gugulethu Sports Complex.

Gugulethu Hustlers coach Ndzuzo Manona and his charge, Anathi Tshwili, pose at the Gugulethu Sports Complex.

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Two local basketball have hit the jackpot and are ready to leave for the land of the free.

The teenagers Thalitha Memani and Anathi Tshwili, both 15, from the Gugulethu Hustlers team, are part of 11 girls strong team that will be travelling with African Grassroots Hoops as part of their Sports Visitor Program.

They are expected to leave for the United States, Washington DC, on 9 October.

Grassroots Hoops’ Vincent Ntunja said that the young girls were between the ages of 14 to 19 years.

“We applied for the Sports Visitors Program at the US Consulate and we were chosen out of 300 other applicants.

These girls will embark on basketball leadership and teamwork, with which skills they are expected to come back and then transfer to their own clubs and community,” said Ntunja.

He said that they have selected girls from communities as diverse as Gugulethu, Langa, Nyanga, Imizamo Yethu(Hout Bay), Heideveld, Philippi and Khayelitsha with the hope that what they learn, they will be able to plough back in their respective neighbourhoods.

Coach Ndzuzo Manona said they were excited that members of the team will be experiencing basketball in its native land.

“These two were chosen on merit as players as well as their leadership qualities with Anathi being the captain of our junior team.

I’m happy that they will go there and find that basketball there is a way of life and one of the biggest sport as opposed to here,” he said.

The Hustlers have a strong team of 49 players, who range in age from eight to adulthood.

They compete in the Cape Town Basketball Association league.

Tshwili said that she was excited about heading to the capital of the US to learn more about the game.

“I’m very happy and excited because I’m going there as a result of what I love. I started playing basketball four years ago after the coach introduced the game to me.

At first it seems like a rough sport and that I would get into fights because of the pace they play but the more I played this feeling changed,” said the Immaculata High School student.

She said that she was counting the days till she gets to board and was not scared of the daunting long flight.

“I hope to come back and share with my team mates what we have learnt during the trip. I am not sure yet of what we are going to do on a day to day basis but I’m excited nonetheless,” she said.

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