WINDHOEK-BORN Annie Mosiane Kalomo’s former netball teammates are said to have been unable to find a player as talented as the pint-sized former centre-cum-wing-attacker since she hung up her netball tekkies in 2006.
The former AI Steenkamp Primary School pupil has come a long way since she made her netball league debut with Golden Rivers NC in 1988, before she joined Black Africa (BA) the following year.
“Joining Black Africa was like a dream come true. My family and I grew up supporting the team because my mother, Europa Oliphant, played netball for Black Africa back in the days,” Kalomo says.
It is hard to imagine the stocky netball star as a shooter, but she says she could jump higher than some of the tallest players in the league at the time.
“Also, I had a great fighting spirit . . . My biggest advantage was that I was superfit and I was never the one to shy away from training,” she says.
Kalomo, who is a proud winner of 10 first-division netball league titles with BA, says she played her best netball between 1993 and 1997.
It didn’t come as a surprise that she went on to become a prominent member of the national netball team that represented Namibia in high profile regional, continental and international tournaments.
Kalomo first caught the attention of then national coach Nico Smith in 1993.
Namibia beat the Cook Islands before succumbing to New Zealand and South Africa in the group stages.
Namibia were ranked 16th in the world after beating Sri Lanka in the play-offs for the 16-17 place during the Milo Series.
National team coach Carol Garoes also took Kalomo to the 1995 World Netball Championships in England where Namibia recorded a win against Papua New Guinea in the group stages.
But 1996 seems to be the year that Kalomo came of age as she went on to clinch BA’s player of the year award ,and best player of the series.
Kalomo, who passed a dope test at the 1995 World Netball Championships in England, became the first coach to win all three divisions as a player coach for BA in the Central Sub-Union’s Windhoek Light Netball League in 1997.
The retired star says she will be forever grateful to then BA coach, the late Daniel Tjongarero, for believing in her enough to draft her straight into the first team.
Kalomo now enjoys being a housewife.
“At first I struggled to adjust, but I am loving this because I am doing this for my own family,” she says.
She got married to childhood sweetheart Lot Sticks Kalomo, whom she met during her days with Golden Rivers 22 years ago.
They have two daughters.
Kalomo says being a housewife has taught her to strike a balance between being a mother and a wife.
She admits to missing her gruelling training regimen and packed netball courts, but says she is living her dream right now.
“I could not have asked for more. I am enjoying every moment of my life, because I don’t have to deal with bossy people and I am stress free. I am extremely happy cooking for my family on a daily basis, and cleaning my house gives me so much joy,” she says.
Kalomo says apart from her sister Helena ‘Ouvrou’ Oliphant, she is still in touch with her former teammate and Namibian Police chief inspector Christiana Moeder Gontes, who was also her teammate on the national team.
She says she misses the camaraderie among her teammates and the self-discipline they had.
“It was never in our nature to camp, because we had very responsible players who knew what is expected from them to be fresh and ready on match day. I would not touch alcohol before a match, and my husband knew I had to rest properly.
“It is not worthwhile cheating, because it shows on match day. You think you are cheating the team, but in reality you are cheating yourself,” she says.
Kalomo advises young netball players to respect themselves as women and to be committed to the sport.
“Have passion for the game if you want to love playing netball. Also, you must be a team player and respect your fellow women. I had all those attributes and they helped me reach the top of my game.”