In absence of Leia Dongue, Ingivld Mucauro was the real leader of Mozambique who beat Egypt in the Fifth-Place game on Saturday in Yaounde.
But behind her team-highs 12.8 points and 4.2 assists per game and some of her incredible plays that propelled Mozambique to the Fifth-Place of the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2021, there is another side of Mucauro, which makes her one of a kind.
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The 29-year-old has been practicing medicine for the past four years, but quitting basketball due to her busy schedule was never an option.
“Because I love them both I do it with love,” she told FIBA.basketball, adding: “I have colleagues that help me a lot with my rota. We swap shifts all the time. The people around me [in basketball and medical practice] have been great.”
Given the nature of sports, especially basketball which requires regular travels and national and internationally, some might find it unsustainable, but Mucauro insists that passion and focus have played a crucial factor in her basketball and medicine careers.
“As a athletes we must acknowledge education. After basketball we can do something else with our lives. In our country it’s too difficult to be a pro player and live off basketball for all your life,” she explained.
“You can do it with love. It’s possible to be focused on education and basketball. For women, especially, it’s important to continue in education so we can do something with our lives when we are 40 or older,” noted Mucauro who was named the MVP of the FIBA Africa Women’s Champions Cup 2019 when she inspired Ferroviario de Maputo of Mozambique to their second straight title in competition.
Asked about Mozambique’s campaign in Yaounde, Mucauro admitted that a number of factors jeopardised the team’s chances.
“I wouldn’t say it [Women’s AfroBasket 2021] was tougher [than the 2019 edition of the tournament], but we didn’t practice as we should have. We only had four days of practice to come here [Yaounde]. We have athletes that play overseas that didn’t come because of the COVID’s restrictions…A player like Leia Dongue, who we missed so much.
“It was our fault because we didn’t practice enough to reach a higher level of competitiveness. Plus, in Mozambique we haven’t played [the national championship] because of COVID. To come here without playing competitive basketball for two years it’s really, really difficult.”