EVERY day that she is on duty, Glow Petroleum Queens and Harare Hospital nurse Christine Kadandara has to be on high alert, whether she is on or off the court.
Never has that been more apparent than it is today, as “Kiri” — as she is affectionately known — has been forced to trade the bib and sneakers for a pair of scrubs.
Kadandara is one of the millions of selfless and faceless women and men who have to care for patients everyday, risking their lives as Covid-19 cases continue rising with each passing day.
But, for her, the pandemic is the least of her worries. She simply longs to return to the netball court.
“I may be at the hospital on a daily basis, but my heart belongs to the netball court.
“My life revolves around the sport and nothing else matters,” she said.
“My family and friends actually feared for my safety during the first days of Covid-19, but there had to be someone brave enough to go out and play a part.
“That is exactly what I am doing.
“My job is to attend to patients; I do that with my oath at heart . . .”
The 31-year-old describes playing netball as “living the dream”.
For more than a decade, she has either been on the netball court or thinking of it, and the last couple of months — which have been affected by coronavirus — have been the longest she has been away from her first love.
When the pandemic began and froze all sporting activities, Kadandara was yet to make a statement as Glow Petroleum’s latest signing.
“This is the first time that I have been away from netball for this long, and it just feels weird.
“The netball court has always been the place to let out whatever I feel inside. There is no day I have walked off the court not feeling better,” she said.
Apart from being a quiet character who turns into a predator on the court, a nurse whose life is all about netball and the most agile plus-size player on court, Kadandara also has an interesting tale to tell.
The former Harare City, Beta Queens and Ngezi Platinum player made her debut in national colours in 2017, at the African Championships in Uganda.
At the tournament, the Gems were bronze medallists after Uganda and Malawi, who came first and second, respectively.
She was part of the squad that qualified for last year’s Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England.
But for some reason, she did not make it to the global showcase.
And apart from not feeling discouraged, she reckons her chance to brush shoulders with the stars is yet to come.
“It can be disappointing for any player, especially after the hard work at the qualifiers, but I just told myself that maybe my time is yet to come.
“It may surprise some, considering my age, but I am optimistic when it comes to netball matters.
“I train hard, I dedicate my all to the game and look forward to the day I make it to the global arena,” said the shooter-cum-defender.
Gems head coach Lloyd Makunde feels Kadandara is a rare talent even though she did not make it to Liverpool, England.
At her club, she plays as the shooter who has an impressive turning ability and barely misses a shot.
In the national team, she played the role of a compact defender.
“When I spotted her, it was actually her ability to be good as a defender and shooter at the same time that was interesting.
“She has good agility despite her huge frame and can elevate very well, and that is a player any coach can wish for,” said Makunde.
Perpetua Siyachitema, Glow Petroleum Queens head coach, described Kadandara as a very composed player who has the ability to play under pressure.
With netball becoming a highly competitive field, Siyachitema felt the need to have Kadandara in her squad.
“I remember not long ago I was on the same squad with Kadandara and I know very well what she is capable of.
“She is a rare talent: plus-sized in stature, but full of creativity on court. I know she has so much to offer and I do not regret signing her,” she said.