Tembo’s volleyball tough ride

The 21-year-old Malawi Wolves Volleyball Club star recently secured a high-profile move to East African side, Rwanda Revenue Authority Women’s Volleyball Team.

SEEING Zimbabwe’s rising volleyball star, Jennipher Tembo’s continued rise in African volleyball gives one a sense of an all-easy and smooth affair as she makes steps from one country to another.

The 21-year-old Malawi Wolves Volleyball Club star recently secured a high-profile move to East African side, Rwanda Revenue Authority Women’s Volleyball Team.

She is on a volleyball scholarship organised by leading Zimbabwe volleyball scout and coach, Thulani Maphosa.

An FIVB assigned national team coach, Maphosa doubles up as Wolves Volleyball Club technical director and Malawi volleyball national team coach for both men and women’s teams.

Tembo is in her third-year studies towards a Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree at the University of Lilongwe in Malawi and aims to wind up her programme via online studying as she relocates to Rwanda.

But as sure as her service and pinpoint setting in the volleyball court, the Njube-born utility player does not want to give a false impression on her partial success story in volleyball as she boldly declares a tough ride to where she is right now.

She is in dilemma on whether volleyball has been good to her since making her first breakthrough under the watchful eye of renowned Bulawayo - based Zimbabwe development coach, Vulindlela Moyo at Gampu Primary School in Bulawayo at Grade 7 level.

“I can't say good, as young as I am I'm still experiencing how volleyball is to me, but so far so good,” Tembo said.

Tembo won all trophies in Malawi with Wolves in the past two years and she was recently voted the Most Valuable Player in the Railply National Championships.

The versatile player is set to play in the CAVB Continental Championships with her new outfit after completing the dream move.

She describes her move to Rwanda as a bittersweet feeling as she finds it hard to separate from her Wolves counterparts, who had become an integral part of her volleyball journey.

“It's a bittersweet feeling because one can't help, but feel anxious of how things are going to be where I'm going and also the feeling of leaving my team where I had made friends and even jelled perfectly makes me a bit sad,” she said.

“At the same time, I can agree that it’s a sweet feeling because I get to expand my horizon as far as volleyball is concerned. I will get to play and interact with new people and learn new things, be in a different place altogether which is interesting.”

Tembo’s first contact with volleyball started at Gampu Government Primary School in Mzilikazi, Bulawayo. She then moved to Mpopoma High School where she turned out to be one of the many able products of Moyo.

In the national and provincial leagues, she turned out for Moyo’s Spartans Volleyball Club until getting noticed by Maphosa during the Region 5 Uuder-20 games culminating in a move to Malawi and subsequently Rwanda.

“It has been very important (being mentored and guided by Moyo and Maphosa) because if it wasn't for them, I probably wouldn't have made it this far,” she paid homage to her mentors for identifying and grooming her volleyball talent.

Outside volleyball, Tembo is working towards a humanitarian route; she has got a big heart just like her big game-winning contributions.

“I've always wanted to help people. I am now going on my third year doing Bachelor of Science in Social Work,” Tembo said.

She had words of encouragement to the young girls who may want to take up volleyball as their sport of choice.

“To the girl child who may want to take up sport I would say it won't be easy at first but as the journey continues doors will open and opportunities will avail themselves,” added Tembo.

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