Mphatso Gift Zilemba is the first professional basketball player that Malawi has produced since the sport came into the country.
Born in Malawi raised in the United States of America (USA), Mphatso started his career as a basketball player at a tender age while still in the USA.
Speaking in an interview from China, Mphatso Zilemba said it is a great thing to play aboard especially in China.
“I grew up in Virginia, USA and my brother played in the AAU leagues there so every once in a while we would play one on one, of course I could not win but that is when I fell in love with the game, upon moving back to Malawi there weren’t a lot of places to play so I stopped the sprt until my secondary school at Bambino Private School when I started playing again,” said Zilemba.
“When I was at school I joined Mimbulu basketball club and it is where we were playing in the Central Zone Basketball League (CEZOBAL), actually that’s where I got more experience,” Zilemba said.
He added that while at Mimbulu basketball club, the coaches, Daud Suleman and Madano Tepeteya were the people who made him who he is now.
“My coaches Suleman and Madano were harder on me, being young and inexperienced I did not know why, I thought maybe they had something against me but in fact it was the opposite it was their way of tough love and as I look back today now that I am more mature because I learned a lot from them, through our hard work, we dominated year after year and won every championship individual awards were out of reach,” Zilemba explained.
Currently Mphatso plays for Beijing Panthers Basketball Club in China where he is also pursuing his tertiary school, saying it is a blessing for him to play in a big country like China.
“Playing in China for Beijing Panthers Basketball Club is a blessing as I have had the opportunity to play with and against former, current and future NBA players, NCAA as well as players that have played professionally all over the world,” Zilemba added.
On his future Mphatso said it would be something grateful if one player in Malawi would go to make it to the NBA.
“Basketball is in revival period in Malawi, though I do not see it happening anytime soon and I am in transition of being a basketball coach and to run basketball clinics in Malawi sometime next year as a way of promoting the game,” he said.
Zilemba said hopefully if all goes well he would organise games with teams from China to visit Malawi as a way of improving international relations and giving Malawi basketball more exposure.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :