For many players, playing basketball outside the country is a dream come true. Playing the game we love while making ends meet is the ultimate goal. A lot of young players work hard to achieve this objective either through athletic scholarships in colleges in America or by playing professional basketball overseas.
Former Strathmore Swords guard, Damaris Riana, has broken that barrier and now plays basketball for Bravehearts Basketball club in Malawi. At 22 years old the youngster is quietly moulding her young career in the Southern African country, where she is already a fan favorite.
For her, playing professional basketball is about learning the different dynamics of the game and improving a day at a time. Her club, Brave Hearts, is one of the most successful clubs in Malawi. She says they welcomed her with open arms, but with huge expectations.
“As I started playing with them, I was challenged to step up and bring my best game. The training and expectations when it comes to playing basketball professionally are different and I had to adapt to that setup,” said Riana.
With a lot expected from her end, Riana says the experience has challenged her immensely. Her game has improved and she has understood the importance of having a good work ethic as a pro.
Comparing the two leagues she has played in, she gives props to the Kenyan league for being more competitive.
“in Malawi is still young but it’s growing at a very high pace. The league is becoming competitive with each round played.”
Her team sits second in the Central region and with the National Championships coming up early first week of April. Riana and the Brave Hearts have high hopes of clinching the title. She has huge expectations moving forward. Expecting to grow and become a better point guard.
“I expect big things this season given the work I’ve been putting in during the off-season. So let’s wait and see how it all turns out.”
Her dream is to play for the Kenya Lionesses. She says she is staying ready and anytime the call up comes, she will be all systems go. She understands that to make the team she has to outwork herself and become a great fit for the National Team. Damaris Riana also has her eyes set on coaching and elevating women’s basketball especially in Malawi.
It’s always a challenge to find a home far away from home where you can play and grow your basketball. Riana chose Malawi and the Bravehearts gave her a serene environment to thrive. Its just a matter of time for the 22 year old until she explodes in to European big leagues. All we can say is keep working Riana, someone is always watching.