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MOZ - Former national team star Machanguana starts own foundation

Clarisse Machanguana (MOZ)
Clarisse Machanguana (MOZ)

MAPUTO - Nine months after ending her national team career, Clarisse Machanguana is back in action with the launch of a pioneer community project in her native Mozambique.

The foundation is named after the former national team player and aims to encourage young Mozambicans to commit to education as well playing sports.

The 40-year-old points out that the Machanguana Foundation will be in particular concerned with raising awareness about HIV and AIDS.

"We will work to change the way our fellow young Mozambicans see the subject of education and health care," Machanguana told FIBA.com.

She retired last summer after helping her country finish second at AfroBasket Women to qualify for the first time ever to the FIBA World Championship for Women.

As a result of the team's achievement, Machanguana is eager to remind her fellow Mozambicans that they are as good as anybody else as long as they work hard, embrace self-discipline and believe in themselves.

"We are looking to boost young people's self-esteem. We want them to believe that they can achieve their dreams if they believe that they are capable of doing what they want," she said.

Machanguana returned to her native Maputo last week after spending a two-decade playing career in top leagues around the world, including the WNBA, the French Ligue Feminine de Basket, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Korea and Italy, where she ended her club career.

Now, she says, it is time to give back.

"We want youngsters to go to school and feel motivated to be there, rather than going to school because their parents want them to go.

"I can't generalise, but I feel there is a tendency for African youths to deny themselves. And we will be working to show them that anything is possible if they believe that they can achieve."

The Foundation was launched in early June in capital Maputo and is due to start operations this month.