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Hi-Flyers netball team, a story of determination and perseverance

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Hi-Flyers netball team

They are known all over Masvingo because of their persistence and determination. They have knocked every door looking for sponsorship but very few doors opened. This is the sad story of determined Masvingo based netball team Hi-Flyers who endeavour to reach the top but with lack resources.

They don’t have a uniform to show their identity, only a netball ball that they move around with show that they are a netball team. Formed in 2017 by Tonono sisters Racy and Ranee, Rachel and Pauline Chikonye among others, Hi-Flyers have persevered over the years despite the hardships which have seen some of their players drop out or being poached by better financed teams.

Hi-Flyers founder Racy Tonono who doubles as a player and secretary general said the desire to uplift the girl child in Masvingo has been the driving force behind their determination over the years.

“Our slogan is ‘Press On, No Matter What’ because we are on a mission to develop netball and also uplift the girl child within Masvingo and surrounding areas,” Tonono said.

“When we started, it was me and my sisters and a few other ladies and during that time we were mocked as a ‘team of sisters’. But the vision was not to have a team of sisters but to have a platform for girls in Masvingo to reach the top through netball. So after our formation we then joined the Rainbow Netball League starting from division one until we got promoted into the premier league.”

“Our other driving force was to give the girls a platform to reach the top. Right now one of the players that we started with Pauline Chikonye is now employed as a prison officer with the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services after having been identified through Hi-Flyers. My sister Rachel is now with Green Fuel and it was the Hi-Flyers foundation that saw her being identified, so for us these are the success stories of our determination despite the hardships that at the end of the day we have managed to uplift some girls.”

The Hi-Flyers secretary general said with the rising cases of drug abuse among the youths, they are also using netball as a vehicle to take the girls off the streets and have something to focus on.

“Drug abuse is becoming rampant among the youths so in as much as we are struggling, we are duty bound to save our youths and community by engaging the girls through netball so that they don’t indulge in drugs. We use our training sessions to educate the girls on drug abuse and we are prepared to join other forces that campaign against drug abuse using our influence within our community to spread the message.”

Tonono said they are appealing for sponsors and well-wishers to help them stay afloat and achieve their dream of nurturing and uplifting talent in Masvingo.

“Our biggest challenge is on the transport costs because we have to fulfill fixtures in Harare, Bulawayo, Hwange and other places. Most of the time we use our own money to hitch hike to the venues and when we get there we then return on the same day because we won’t have money for accommodation. So in the end some girls end up giving up and leave netball altogether. I want to thank all those that have supported us in this journey and wants to encourage them to continue doing so as we are on a mission.”

Some of the determined Hi-Flyers players campaigning in the Rainbow Netball League includes the likes of Wedzerai Sibanda, Audrey Mashingaidze, Munashe Kanyongo, Mitchell Tambade, Sharon Lisimati, Tsitsi Tachiweyi, Rachel Vushe, Chipo Kuvarega, Caroline Munda, Vongai Tokwe, Emily Fambirai, Evidence Matau, Sharon Munhande, Thelma Charenga and Kudzai Chamisa.

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