BEIRA (FIBA U16 Women’s African Championship 2017) – It is not all rosy when playing basketball. It is a contact sport.
At first glance, Noemia Alexandre Massingue is a laidback teenage girl with a rather calm and unique composure until she steps on court and has a basketball in her hands.
“I enjoy playing basketball and want to give my best. I always tell my teammates to play happy because when you play sad, you can lose the ball and continue being sad,” she says with a huge smile on her face.
It is this same attitude that kept her going even when she was knocked and she bled just above her right eyebrow, a show of resilience that even after two defeats to Angola 64-57 and Mali 76-33, Mozambique are still rearing to go when they face Egypt on Wednesday.
Massingue, who plays for The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry New York, is representing Mozambique for the very first time but she has her eyes on the bigger prize – to play for the senior Mozambican team.
“When I started playing basketball at the age of nine in 2010, it was because everyone in my neighborhood played it too and I made great friends with my teammates.”
"I want to be like Clarisse Machanguana because her story is simply amazing. It is something unbelievable. It is really my dream to play for Mozambique and make it shine at the big stage."Massingue
Massingue is what every young girl that plays basketball wants to be but most importantly what her fellow Mozambican teammates commend about her. The endorsement also rides on her simplicity, teamwork and her go-getter attitude.
The movement of the ball from her hand to the floor and back speaks volumes but not more than the intelligence with which she uses to make decisions while at it.
Along with her teammates, Massingue is keen to inspire Mozambique to the FIBA U17 Women's World Cup 2018 in Minsk, Belarus but this is the mother of all tests.
"This is my dream, to take my country to the FIBA U17 Women's World Cup. It would be so amazing. We talk before going on court for every game and everybody has to know what they want in their lives. We want to win."
She has already led by example and her statistics are there for everyone to see. She has averaged 14 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists over three games, the star of her team.
Just like Machanguana, Massingue wants to write her name in the history books but she knows that this will take a lot of hard work.
“I want to be like Clarisse Machanguana because her story is simply amazing. It is something unbelievable. It is really my dream to play for Mozambique and make it shine at the big stage.”
Machanguana is considered to be the greatest Mozambican female player of all-time having played for the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA before joining FC Barcelona in the EuroLeague.
"I want to play in the WNBA and yes, I know that it takes a lot to do so but I am willing to go the distance and I hope that I will get there."
Massingue, a crowd favourite in Beira, also hopes to inspire young girls that they can indeed be like her and even do better if they believe in themselves.