Netball geezers are almost unheard of, just as the sport itself that recently resurrected by participating at international championships after going AWOL for close to eight years.
The national team showcased themselves as a force to be reckoned with and was commended by many as the next best thing next to world class Australian Silver Ferns and Africa’s sole strider in the big league - Malawi.
In Namibia’s second participation in the annual eight-nation games in Singapore last December, scouts from the south eastern city state spotted two more Namibian players and offered them an opportunity to play in their professional league for over a month. This was an opportunity previously given to Namibia’s current best goal shooter, Toetsie Jatjinda.
Anna Kaspar and Delilah Keja are to join Toetsie in Singapore`s Super League next month.
The Villager Sport caught up with Delilah during one of her practice sessions to find out about her preparations for what could be a life-changing experience.
Delilah came from the depths of the Khomasdal-based Bethlehem United Netball Club to take Namibian netball by storm. At the December games, she had the entire
Singaporeans and stadium chanting, screaming: “Deli! Deli!” with her perfected attacking play and timely passing of the ball.
Despite a lack of experience at such high level of play, Delilah translated surprisingly well to the December games, a tremendous accomplishment that saw her being selected to Singapore`s most elite league.
The 19-year old Delilah has been plying her trade for the past six years, only to be absorbed into the national team three years ago in the under-20 team that went to Cosana in 2009. “She was always ignored at national trials, and it saddened me because I always knew Delilah had the potential to play at national level,” says Coach Esme Isaaks.
Coach Esme described her 1.7m tall athlete as an asset to Namibia and that she is one of her most dedicated players at practise.
“She is a born netballer, although Delilah is a midfielder you can actually push her to play in any other position except shooting and I promise you she will play in that position without disappointing.”
Being absorbed into the senior national team at the tender age of 19 was a dream come true for Delilah.
She has been training all alone in preparation for the Singapore excursion because the Khomas league is still in recess.
“I train every day, sometimes no- one turns up for training, but I still come. I mostly focus on my fitness levels as being fit is one of the biggest requirements from the Singaporeans.”
The exchange/development programme that was initiated by the Association of Singapore Netball, gives the players not only an opportunity to play in the super leagues, but also aims to groom them as coaches, medics- treating injuries on play, as
well as umpires; skill they obviously will transfer back to their Namibian counterparts.
Delilah seemed super excited about the opportunity given to her saying that she is looking forward on going.
“I’m literally counting down the days to the 20th of March to board the plane. I even changed my diet to adhere to the dietary requirements given to me, which entails no red meat, more pasta and no junk food,” she says.
The rising star is also a first year Psychology student at Unam and will only be resuming her studies once she comes back in six weeks time. All her expenses will be taken care of by the Singapore Netball Association.
Namibia is ranked 24th in the world by International federation of Netball, and is aiming to improve this ranking further by continuing to participate in more international matches says Isadore Nell, the Vice President of the All Namibia Netball Association (ANNA).