Netball Tom is shooting for stars

2017-10-19 06:01
Unathi Tom, one of the few male netball players in Khayelitsha, is close to realising his dream for national call-up duties

Unathi Tom, one of the few male netball players in Khayelitsha, is close to realising his dream for national call-up duties

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Khayelitsha male netball player Unathi Tom is determined to make an impact in the game despite the sport being virtually unheard of in his neighbourhood of Site C.

Unathi,19, has shown impressive form in the game, which has seen him gradually being called up to do duty at provincial level, and now to the country.

In December he will be in camp with the national squad and his goal is to be in the starting line up for his country of birth.

He is expected to join the national Under 23 squad trials in December in Durban.

This is a sharp escalation considering that he only started training with the provincial team in February 2017.

He said his selection has not been a smooth sailing affair.

“Growing up, I was friends with girls and I was fascinated when they played netball, so I decided to join them on the field of play ... I started playing with the girl’s team while I was in primary school at Injongo. I loved it and I knew that it was something that I wanted to do,” he said.

At Joe Slovo High School in 2013, a policy was formulated that genders should not mix on the same field of play.

“That was hard because it was difficult to find other boys who were interested in the sport.

It was only a year later that I met a group (male players) and we decided to form a team of male netball players,” he said.

Tom is currently a second year Human Resources student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

He said he found playing with males a bit challenging than was the case with girls,but he loved the game, so he decided he might as well get used to playing with them, their rough edges notwithstanding.

“Male netball is rough and aggressive but I got used to it. There is also a perception that the game is for men in the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexual, Intersex and Queer(LGBTIQ) community but that is not necessarily the truth.

I also found that in black communities there aren’t many players than in white and coloured communities,” he said.

Unathi said he hoped his story would motivate others despite the sexuality linked with the sport.

He said his favourite position is goal defence, because the team’s victory depends on blocking opponents.

“I can’t wait to represent my team. This is the proudest moment of my life right now and I’m happy,” he said glowingly.

“If you love the game, explore it ... You just need to believe in yourself,” he ended.

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