Muluti Sisters On the Rise

HANDBALL is slowly becoming a popular sport on the Zambian scene with a number of youths aspiring to become world class players despite the sport facing numerous financial challenges.

As it is a common trend in most if not all countries around the globe, schools are a fertile ground for building a g foundation of future success in sports and the Handball Association of Zambia (HAZ) is taking its chances to ensure that the reality of having a g nursery of handball athletes is attained.

In recognition of Zambia’s positive indications in the development of this minor sport, the International Handball Federation (IHF) recently awarded the country the rights to stage the Zone Six Challenge that will draw male and female teams from the entire Southern African region in September.

Having had a male team that took part in the under -20 Africa Cup of Nations Handball Championship in Kenya last month, it is necessary that we take a look at what we have in store in the Zambian female team as we draw closer to the zone Six challenge.

The Kasisi community, situated in the rural part of Lusaka has produced two emerging stars in female handball that have transcended into formidable forces in the national team.

Catherine and Rita Muluti are the two kids on the bloc that will be expected to inspire the country to the podium of medals.

These two little known players on the country’s sports scene are sisters who are determined to attain self-actualization in handball as the sport gains momentum on Zambian soil.

Like every ambitious athlete with the hunger to triumph, the Muluti sisters have proved unstoppable in their quest to spring to the pinnacle of female handball while playing alongside each other at club and national levels.

And if Zambia that is currently ranked second in the region is to leapfrog Angola from the top, the Muluti sisters are a vital arsenal that will be needed to beat the rest at the forthcoming zone Six Handball Challenge.

The pair has continued to mesmerize the handball fanatics at their club Kasisi Dynamites and later on in the national team during international tournaments.

Team handball is a complex intermittent sport game, which requires players to have well developed aerobic and anaerobic capacities.

Several cruise abilities such as sprinting, jumping, flexibility, and throwing velocity are considered as important aspects of the game that contribute to the high performance of athletes and the team.

The Muluti sisters possess these characteristics of play that have seen them become important elements in team Zambia on account of their high level of performance during competitions.

They have participated in several regional tournaments and although their debut at the 2013 under-17 Africa Cup of Nations Handball Championship in Congo Brazzaville ended in a disappointment after Zambia made an early exit from the competition, the tournament provided a platform on which the pair drew positives and from then on, they have made tremendous improvements in their skills.

In practice, Handball players perform different activities depending on their positions.

More specifically, body height, mass, palm span and palm length are important in improving athletes’ performance and are considered as basic criterion for athletes’ selection in various playing positions.

Seventeen-year old Catherine who is fondly known as ‘Kasy’ by her peers, plays as a winger. Even though she is not the shortest player in the team as wingers are known to be, Catherine covers the longest distance during the games, most of which is covered while sprinting.

Catherine is doing grade 10 at Mavi Secondary school and her ultimate target is to guide Zambia to achieving its Olympics dreams.

Kasisi Dynamites is a rural setup handball club but with the support from Exhildah Banda, wife to HAZ president Victor Banda who is the team’s main sponsor, Dynamites is now seeded second in Zambia after Lusaka Tigers.

The duo’s parents Jason and Sofia Muluti must be proud of their daughters’ achievements in this sport.

“We owe our parents so much for their sacrifice and teachings and the encouragement they have been giving, which has effectively contributed to us reaching this far, not forgetting Mrs. Exhildah Banda who has always been there for our team and she has always told us to be excel both at school and in sports.

Our gratitude also extends to Matilda Mwaba, the executive director at NOWSPAR (National Organisation for Women in Sports and Recreation) for the work she is doing in supporting young women in sport,” she says.

In modern sports, international competition has become fierce, involving every younger ages and the players’ performance is mainly based on physical fitness.

Rita was born on May 31, 1999 and she plays as a half winger. She possesses great muscle strength and her broad jump and ball throwing velocity are amazing ingredients that any player needs to be an effective half winger.

Rita, currently doing her eighth grade at Kasisi Basic School, is aiming at completing school and to take aantage of the sporting opportunity to make it big in life as she believes that the two sisters are on the right path to greatness.

She says “My dream is to play at the Olympics and the world Handball Championship in the same team with my sister and this year, I want us to win the IHF zone six Challenge which we are hosting.

“The word of encouragement to my fellow players is that we should remain focused because nothing is impossible, the sky should be the limit.”

“I feel so great that I play in the same team with my sister because that gives me strength to aspire for more and I would like to call upon girls in the country to develop interest in joining handball, it’s one of the sports where they can make their mark and probably move to another level.”

With the rich resource of talent the Muluti sisters have and the their spirit to win, it is clear that team Zambia is a serious contender for the IHF Zone Six Challenge and winning it must be non negotiable.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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